*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 25, 2014, 12:38:15 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 67 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 [2] 3
Print
Author Topic: Social Context  (Read 34923 times)
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2002, 09:23:02 AM »

What isolating behaviors do you practice, in terms of all four questions?

Broadly: I only like to hang out with folks who have some of culture and artistic and literary exposure, and who are capable of discussing such meaningfully, or at least discussing it.

My wife and I enjoy theater and plays, discussing the subtext in movies and books, and visiting art galleries and museums...our local friends & acquaintances react with boredom, disgust or confusion when we discuss anything of the sort.

My wife and I have thus repeatedly discussed moving somewhere with more culture, as we both find we know few persons intellectually/culturally compatible with locally -- there simply aren't any functions or places to attend to meet such individuals.

This means I practice a relatively high amount of isolating behaviors period given the area I live in and the dominant culture thereof, not merely restricting social contact on the basis of those who are role-players. My current social isolation is extremely, depressingly high.

This isn't to say I don't get along with the people we do know -- I've been described as the quietest but most friendly & helpful person anyone knows by pretty much everyone around here -- only that real, actual conversation tends to stall and stutter quickly, as the common interests and level of discussion between myself and the local populace are widely divergent, to the point of being almost exclusionary.

This is atypical for me, at least post-highschool, as during college I was extremely outgoing and had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.  The above isolation occurred only after our moving to this area specifically.

But, again, my situation is notably atypical, at least from the standpoint of the questions being asked.
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Matt Snyder
Member

Posts: 1380


WWW
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2002, 10:20:40 AM »

Because Ron effectively asked me to do so, I'm going to answer his questions about social context. Consider me a "hostile witness" (with tongue planted firmly in cheek) because I really suspect that I'm going to clash with Ron's ultimate point here. That is to say, I _think_ I know what he's getting at, and my own opinions on the matter probably aren't in the same ball park. Then again, god knows I'm wrong about this stuff more often than I'm right.

Ok, here goes (with some "my point is . . . " stuff at the end):

Quote from: Ron Edwards

1. Consider yourself and the people you role-play with. Do you ever socialize with them without role-playing? If so, which type of socializing is the more frequent one? That is, do you occasionally role-play with these general/whatever friends, or do you occasionally socialize with these fellow role-players?


I play with two groups (though the "newer" group just recently -- last couple months).

My first group is the "old school" group -- a group literally comprised of folks who went to the same high school I did. The current members include myself, my younger brother Dave, and two of my best friends -- Flash (who is a lurker on the Forge) and Leland. Except for my brother, we're all about the same age (nearly 30). Dave -- the brother -- is 21. Outside of gaming, we interact socially quite often (obviously so w/ my brother!). There is precious little doubt that lately our non-gaming social interaction far exceeds our gaming time. So, I guess I occasionally role-play with these friends/family. However, it didn't used to be that way! This is pretty much a scheduling issue -- one member is away at college, another has a new job with conflicting hours, etc. When we socialize, we talk about everything from football to RPGs to whatever.

My second -- and newer -- group has some overlap. It includes myself, my friend Flash, his wife Lisa, and other friends Tony, Wendy and Jason. All are largely Flash's "college group," and he's played with them for years. Myself less so, but I know everyone pretty well. We do have social engagements outside of gaming (parties, etc.). In fact, I'd say it's nearly half and half social interaction vs. gaming, though possibly skewed a bit toward gaming since we're meeting weekly now.


Quote from: Ron Edwards

2. Consider yourself together with your fellow group members relative to other role-playing groups in your area. Do you talk about your play experiences and share information about play with members of these other groups? Do you socialize with play members of these other groups without role-playing being involved as an issue? [Please note: these last two questions are not alternatives, but independent of one another. One could, for example, conceivably do both, just at different times.]


We do not engage in discourse -- really at all -- with groups in the area. We do not socialize with members of other groups (to the best of our knowledge!). However, about three years ago when one of our "old school" group members ran a comics/hobby store in Des Moines, he and I had frequent social contact and rare role-playing experiences with other members. He has since sold his shares in the store, and joined the full-service army. So, we don't get to see him anymore! Someday . . .

Now, in our "defense," we're somewhat geographically isolated. I suspect there may be other groups in our very small towns (which are actually outside Des Moines, Ia), but I do not know of them. I do know there ARE groups in Des Moines and Ames (hour north of DSM), and I've had some minimal contact with them via the aforementioned store. But, by and large, it's seems very difficult to make contact. Now, I think that's for good and "bad" reasons -- 1) we don't know who they are, and 2) we don't have a real interest in doing so.


Quote from: Ron Edwards

3. Consider yourself relative to people you know who do not role-play. Do they know about your hobby (that is, that you do this)? Do you discuss it with them to any degree, and if so, how often?


Yes, some of our (meaning my wife & I) friends, and especially many family members, know I role-play. I do not discuss the hobby with these people, typically. I do discuss some matters with members of my family, particularly when they became interested that I published Dust Devils. Discussion is not frequent. Mention at family gatherings (which ARE frequent). Otherwise, the issue is "behind closed doors" for all sorts of reasons, good and mostly bad. The bad being my reluctance to explain something they may view as juvenile or strange. It is, I have no doubt, a sort of "Pavlovian" response after years of trying to be "cool" in high school or hide the books from concerned mothers, my own included, once upon a time.

This, by the way, interests me greatly. I occasionally find myself "changing the subject" or simply making fun of myself when other family members start to do the same. To say that many of them "don’t get it" is an understatement. So, as we have done for years, we make jokes of it -- "Yep, we're breaking out the black candles tonight for our devil games." The term "devil games" has become a kind of permanent eupemism, in fact.

What interests me is that 1) the games are viewed with some suspicion (all that Satanism hooey, which really no one buys) and 2) the games/hobby is viewed as an uber-geeky, juvenile pasttime worse than video games (which my brother and I play fantically and have for years).

Quote from: Ron Edwards

4. Consider your own entire history of role-playing. Have any of the answers to the above questions changed for you, over time? From what to what?


While I may have just painted a picture of running around from basement to basment in secret to hide from fundamentalists or angry jocks, that's hardly the case. My group in high school was mainly jocks, for one! Heh. And I think the "diabolical" treatment is mostly just taken in good fun, making fun of both fundamentalists and gamers.

So, yes, my answers to those questions have indoubted changed over time. In college, I had some social contact with members of other groups. Same in high school. We talked about things gaming and otherwise, but rarely played (single instances, if ever). Largely, however, I'm an "in-the-closet" RPG-geek with acquaintances and friends. For example, I have always kept my hobby from co-workers. Point a gun to my head and ask me why -- the answer is probably one of two things . . . or both. One, I don't want to explain something I know I can't possibly explain in one short conversation. Two (and more interestingly) I'm afraid of what they'll think or how they'll react. That's a pretty irrational thing. But, there it is.

Quote from: Ron Edwards

5. Consider yourself and your fellow group members again. Do you all share similar answers to all of the above questions, or do you represent a range of diversity?


I think many of my fellow group members (especially my "old school" group) have mostly the same answers. Members of my "second" group -- and therefore overlap member Flash -- are probably a bit more "open" about all this than I am. However, as far as I know, they have less social interaction with other groups in the area than I do only because of my contacts built at the hobby store in recent years.

Ok, so there's the "Behind the Music" for myself and my groups.

So what?

Here's what I think Ron's getting at . . .

I think Ron is saying that our hobby has become, over the years, a cloistered and insular social network. Which is to say, it's not much of a network! There are all sorts of reasons for this, and the social aspects most troubling in his mind, I suspect. We're not talking about the grubby, smelly gamer. We're talking about bright, "normal" people who keep their hobby largely behind closed doors.

If that's not what Ron's getting at, it's at least what I've observed! My experience explained above should indicate that.

Still, so what? Well, obviously this is tied, among other things, to Ron's ideas about mainstream vs. alternative. The games and their content (most especially D&D, but I also argue WoD-style LARPs) are NOT the only thing keeping the mainstream vs. alternative paradigm inverted. It's also the social interaction of GAMERS with the REST OF THE WORLD. (And the Forge sends up a resounding, "Duh, Snyder!")

Here's the thing, though, and likely the point at which I stumble with Ron's viewpoint. So what? I mean, what's to INCENTIFY the hobby to invert? Nothing. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

Ok, so then I assume Ron is saying fuck the hobby! Let's forget about those basement freaks playing D&D. (You know, like me!) Let's worry about getting "real" folks to play games that they've never played before, and could really have a blast if there wasn't all this uber-geek / satanist / whatever-the-hell baggage.

I agree with that noble ambition. I really do. I just don't care! That's why I said I'm waiting for Ron's "other shoe to drop." Maybe he'll convince me (or maybe someone's discussion will) otherwise. Because right now, I have less than zero interest in doing that, in devoting the energy to wake up the mainstream. I find it extremely taxing just to get geekdom to get interested in things I want to do. (Dust Devils and the confounding reaction to my new project, Nine Worlds). Worse yet, I don't have the resources to do it. That'll keep me away if nothing will (Case in point: If Dust Devils is a mainstream game, how do I pay to invest in getting in the hands of the mainstream audience?)

When even that might get too tiresome, I just "disappear." I shrug, turn off the computer, and go back down into the basement with my old school pals. We game 'til we drop, our little hearts content and no one the wiser.

I would guess that I'm not alone in that regard. That is, that I just don't see the payoff -- social, financial, intellectual or whatever -- on the horizon. I think others likely have the same reaction, and I'm not just talking about folks on the Forge. I think there are other extremely valuable souls out there in this hobby that could really have some astounding ideas to make the mainstream wake up. But I think they either don't want to, or the thought would so challenge their identity with their hobby that they'll do it when you pry their D20 (or whatever) from their cold, dead hands.
Logged

Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

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

Posts: 1309


WWW
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2002, 01:15:48 PM »

Interestingly, Matt, coming from a similar "closeted gamer" background, I have exactly the opposite reaction to Ron's call to "go mainstream."  To me, it doesn't feel like I'm being asked to put in any extra effort because... that's what I was planning on doing anyway.  Pushing the envelope is what I enjoy most, and sharing/teaching things to newcomers and young people is one of the coolest feelings in the world.  This may be because I'm only 20 years old, not jaded enough, and far too idealistic for my own good, but, if so, I don't really care.

The reason I still play and design games is not because I believe in what roleplaying is now, but because I believe in what it can become.  In my opinion, keeping one of my hobbies and (hopefully) talents hidden from the rest of the world is not rewarding enough.  And maintaining the same "closeted" social habits (at least, in regards to roleplaying), doesn't do anything to change that.  If you can't see the payoff, fine.  But all I can see is payoff.  Maybe not financial, but who's really in this for the money?  Socially, hell yeah.  Intellectually, you better believe it.

After all, if you're not making a difference, what the point?
Logged

Matt Snyder
Member

Posts: 1380


WWW
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2002, 02:24:13 PM »

Jonathan,

Your ethic of pushing the envelope, bolstering the art and seeking to tap the mainstream is laudable. That's an ethic the Forge cherishes, and I do, too.

That you were already planning on going mainstream anyway hardly addresses the question for me, and I think for much of "gamer-dom." Ron knows full well that the challenge isn't so much finding eager innovators like yourself. It's changing the inertial mindset of gamers and "industry" folks that will be the real task. I guess I'm somewhere in the fog between those two realms.

I'm not challenging the idealistic vision here. I'm questioning two things. Firstly, is all this practical? More specifically, is it practical for me as a game designer? I'm questioning that because my own game has been discussed as a means to tap the mainstream, and yet no one, least of all me, has any notion of how to do it and how to PAY for it.

Second, is it worth it? More specifically, is it worth it for me as a gamer. This is the point at which I believe Ron and I will disagree. See, I think he'll tell me stuff like "Dude, you can only benefit from reaching out, building new social contacts, gaming more, thereby mainstreaming the hobby."

To which I reply "Dude, I don't care. I'm perfectly happy in the basement, you know? My social life is satisfying -- both in terms of gaming and non-gaming circles -- that I don't need to go out there and do that. I have zero interest, no motivation."

I keep saying I want to hear Ron's full vision for a reason. At this point in time, I simply do not see the payoff -FOR ME-. Yeah, it's selfish, but I truly believe it matters 'cause there are likely others like me who would say the same thing. If it's going to be a taxing effort, is it really worth the "artistry" or the "idealism" for the hobby? For busy, lil' ol me at this point, the answer seems to be "No."

Why? Because I'm perfectly happy gaming with the social contacts I have in place. Is it part D&D Fantasy schlock? Sure! Is it also part revolutionary game designs like Sorcerer and Universalis and so on? Sure!

See, Ron's ambition has two real issues. Firstly, he has the potential to change the way people game, most importanly because it changes the social interaction model of WHO games with WHOM. This is a Big Deal if it can be accomplished. I take the absurd position that I support this fully, but I don't wanna do go out and do it! So it goes; I'm stubborn that way. But, with some more insight and cause, I could change my mind.

Second, and far more troubling to me, is the INDUSTRY aspect of all this. You know, the business stuff. It's all boils down to assailing the way the industry works, too. That's not a mission I'm eager to take. I'd do so, if we're speaking strictly in terms of pie-in-the-sky idealism. But, when push comes to shove, it all boils down to "show me the money." This is not something I have in spades, you understand. Otherwise, I'd have published Dust Devils "for real" already.

I'm not saying I don't see ANY payoff, or that I would NEVER contribute. I'm saying I don't see a practical payoff (for me, selfishly), nor do I see sufficient incentive for people like me to contribute to the 'cause.' At least as it's been discussed thus far. Hence my constant, repeated insistence to hear more from Ron (and others, for that matter!).

Quote from: Jonathan Walton

After all, if you're not making a difference, what the point?


Having fun. Relaxing. Enjoying the creative process. Entertainment. Spending time with good friends.

I'm concerned that in going mainstream, our "Onward Christian Soldiers"-like drive will take away all the FUN -- all the reasons I already do like the hobby.

The point -- at least for me -- is most decidely NOT stressing out, screwing up orders, mailing stuff, replying with form emails, challenging an industry, arguing with grognards, discussing with designers, retailers, distributors, spending weekends at conventions pimping, being away from my daughter and wife, etc.

I'm being a bit facetious here, Jonathan, but my point is that I have plenty of things in my life that I quite strongly believe make a difference in the world. I just question how much more attention I can devote to radically changing the way a hobby that I already sufficiently enjoy is perceived and approached by people.

(EDITED: changed "with" to "worth" in 6th paragraph)
Logged

Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2002, 02:33:17 PM »

Heh,

And here I'd written and then re-considered a post to describe how Fun was the issue, not an evangelical Change-the-Hobby crusade at all. I'd even mentioned how no one has to comply.

But I decided not to post it because it was a bit early, I think.

So Matt, I'm actually on your side in this matter. What you want is what you want, what you like is what you like, and believe me, I totally hear you regarding what a pain in the ass publishing and fulfillment, etc, can be.

Stay tuned. A number of possible developments and thoughts, and I think some that will surprise you, are still working themselves out. In the meantime, don't be too sure that my goal is to hit streets and airports with bravely-smiling, "Ask me about role-playing" crusaders.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Tim C Koppang
Member

Posts: 356


WWW
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2002, 04:06:32 PM »

Quote from: Paul Czege
A few months ago, Danielle and I had a very nice dinner with a Forgite, his wife, and one of his friends at a restaurant midway between all our individual hometowns. I'd proposed running a game for them, which never actually happened, but that was the purpose of the get together. And I enjoyed it quite a bit. But would everyone have made time for that nice dinner and game conversation if the possibility of gaming together had not been on the table. I really really doubt it.

Umm … so what?  This happens all the time even with people totally separate from roleplaying.  The important issue here is not that you wouldn’t have gotten together if it wasn’t for a common interest, but that you did get together and have a good time.  I don’t know what you talked about at this dinner.  Was it entirely game related?  From the sounds of it, no.

Hobbies, on one level, exist to bring people together who share an interest.  They can talk about that hobby, and it might be the reason that they started socializing in the first place, but it certainly doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with that—or that the conversations will always be limited to the hobby subject.  Take for example, a group of “regular guys” who get together every month for a poker night.  Sure, they convene to play poker, but it doesn’t cheapen the experience—nor does it necessarily mean that they wouldn’t want to interact with each other outside of poker night.

Now, admittedly, in your first example the guy seemed like a bit of a recluse.  That’s a good example of what I would call low confidence.  I would guess that he didn’t know how to interact beyond the construct of gaming.  I’ve had similar anxieties before, but sometimes you have to learn to get over them.
Logged

greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2002, 05:49:49 PM »

Matt wonders what the point is since he has a hard enough time getting the geeks interested in his stuff...

Well, isn't the point, from an economic standpoint at least, that a larger audience will make it EASIER to get folks interested in what you're doing, not HARDER, because there are simply more of them?

Not sure that makes a difference to Matt, but it would to anyone trying to make a living in the hobby, and certainly the companies which produce RPG material, who have a vested interest in cash-flow gains.
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2002, 12:02:53 AM »

We come back to the questions with a new spin, as
Quote from: Ron Edwards also
What isolating behaviors do you practice, in terms of all four questions?

So, with reference to my previous comments, let me look again.
[list=1][*]
Quote from: Ron
Consider yourself and the people you role-play with. Do you ever socialize with them without role-playing? If so, which type of socializing is the more frequent one? That is, do you occasionally role-play with these general/whatever friends, or do you occasionally socialize with these fellow role-players?

My kids are all teenagers (well, the youngest is ten, but he thinks of himself that way). It is my impression that it is not easy to maintain links with your kids in that age bracket; but we've somehow managed it (not that we don't have problems, but that estrangement isn't one of these). We talk about our games all the time; we talk about the games we play together, the games we've played in the past, and the games we're playing elsewhere. They enjoy discussing what's happening in my online forum game. It happens that they also like my music (the stuff I wrote and use to perform years ago), and like to have me sing it for/with them. We talk about all kinds of things, though; and I'm not at all certain whether close family gaming group is a viable model for this kind of discussion. The few others who have been part of our games are mostly their friends, and although I know these kids, it would hardly be correct to say I socialize with them.

The online forum games are with players quite far away, the nearest in D.C. (and he's a recent addition to the game). Socializing with them is kind of out of bounds. One of them was, for a while, treating me like I was a close friend of his, in terms of chatting with me via chat software every day for extended periods; it was interfering with my work, and I had to explain generally that I didn't have the time to "chat" with people while I was working, although I would be pleased to discuss things by e-mail or on the forums. Perhaps my time is a bit too limited for that kind of socializing, or perhaps it's only a matter of degree.

It occurs to me that I "socialize" in some sense with other gamers online, via forums like this and mailing lists. Obviously here we talk about games, but we don't game. But I think this actually fits in a different category.

[*]
Quote from: The Professor
Consider yourself together with your fellow group members relative to other role-playing groups in your area. Do you talk about your play experiences and share information about play with members of these other groups? Do you socialize with play members of these other groups without role-playing being involved as an issue? [Please note: these last two questions are not alternatives, but independent of one another. One could, for example, conceivably do both, just at different times.]

Yes, this would seem to be the right place for this part. You guys are, in a sense, gamers in other groups with whom I socialize; but mostly I socialize with you in the context of game discussions, as that's the function of the forum. There is one exception to this. I'm currently chaplain of the Christian Gamers Guild, and the discussion there also covers a shared faith. Particularly as chaplain, I sometimes reply to private e-mail from group members with personal problems or questions about their faith and their lives. This will sometimes touch on gaming, but often will have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

There is at least one gamer in the area who would like to get together with me and play sometime; I think he wants to play D&D, which is fine by me (I still run OAD&D from time to time). But I do practice a sort of isolating behavior here: my wife doesn't allow strangers to visit (particularly strangers I know and she doesn't), so I don't have people over. She also thinks I spend too much time working on this to have any time to go see other people to play games without her, and she doesn't have the time or inclination at present to go with me, so I don't play elsewhere. It's really a combination of the logistics of getting together combined with having been so badly burned in the past (as mentioned above).

There is a game referee twenty miles from here who somehow got it into his head that he wanted me to come shake up his gaming group by running a few games sometime. Problem is, he wants me to run D&D3E, and I can't think of a single good reason to finish reading those books or run that version of the game, so it's not going to happen. I suppose I'm isolating, because I don't want to run that game and they don't want to play anything else.

[*]
Quote from: Again Ron
Consider yourself relative to people you know who do not role-play. Do they know about your hobby (that is, that you do this)? Do you discuss it with them to any degree, and if so, how often?

There was a visiting teacher (Spanish teacher from Spain) at my son's school who wanted to come over and play Multiverser, but I had much the same problem about time and place. Scheduling is a nightmare, and having people over is a problem.

However, I'm not totally isolationist. In an odd twist, some people who are the closest thing to the social elite of the small town from which I recently moved have contacted me (through my wife) to ask me to come to a couple of their parties and run first a murder mystery party (I'm very interested in doing this, as I've never been to one, and always wanted to try it) and then a role playing game. I'm still trying to figure out what to run, as I'll need something that will play well in a couple of sessions which isn't going to require too much extra from me. I've sort of eliminated AD&D and Multiverser, as being much better geared to ongoing campaigns (although I'll probably do that if they decide they want to do something regular). I have Little Fears and a current draft of Alyria, but haven't spent enough time with either to judge what would work. (I also have Star Frontiers and Metamorphosis Alpha (the original), but they're probably a bit more campaign-oriented than I want, too.) (Yes, relatively speaking, I've got a small game library. I was always pretty happy with the games we had.)

[*]
Quote from: Finally, Ron
Consider your own entire history of role-playing. Have any of the answers to the above questions changed for you, over time? From what to what?

When I first started gaming, I was on the radio forty-plus hours a week. I made it quite clear to my primarily Charismatic Christian audience that I was a gamer and thought D&D was the most Christian game I'd ever encountered. Some people who were listeners came and tried the game at my home.

Later, we had an open door policy; anyone could join the game. That got us in trouble, as mentioned. Now we're very strict about having people in the house. Mom has to approve everyone personally, and she doesn't often do so. (It's her job because, in that odd way couples compliment each other, I trust everyone and she trusts no one.)

However, I'm a recognized gamer apologist. I'm awaiting word as to whether an article in defense of role playing games is going to appear in one of two prominent Evangelical magazines (both of which are major influences in the "cult/Satanism" witchhunt (excuse the pun) wing of the faith); the editor of one specifically requested it, but has to convince his publisher to run it. So I'm still quite vocal about influencing a positive view of gaming, and particularly among those with potentially the most negative views. I just don't play with strangers much anymore, so I'm not introducing so many people to gaming from that direction.[/list:o]
Does that help?

--M. J. Young
Logged

Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


WWW
« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2002, 07:26:18 AM »

Hey Tim,

The important issue here is not that you wouldn't have gotten together if it wasn't for a common interest, but that you did get together and have a good time....Hobbies, on one level, exist to bring people together who share an interest. They can talk about that hobby, and it might be the reason that they started socializing in the first place, but it certainly doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with that - or that the conversations will always be limited to the hobby subject.

I think you're missing the point I was trying to make with that example. The point is that common interest in gaming isn't enough, because gamers don't make time and invest energy in meeting and socializing with other gamers outside the context of planning to game together. Far from wrong, that dinner was fun, and no we didn't talk about gaming the whole time. The point is that it was the negotiating of a potential game together that made it happen, and that shared interest in the hobby alone wouldn't have been sufficient.

Paul
Logged

My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2002, 07:51:04 AM »

Hello,

What some of this discussion is dancin' around, and I think Paul's right on target about it, is that people tend to confound these three things:

- being liked
- being included in a role-playing group
- socializing together

They're related, certainly, but which is the big box and which are nested, and how? I would presume to suggest that "being liked" is the big box, "socializing together" is the next in, and "role-playing together" is the most deeply nested.

[Side note: yes, there are people I've met and befriended through shared activity, including role-playing, but insofar as the successful interaction continues, the "boxes" shake out as I've described in the long run.]

Now: does anyone think that many role-players tend to get the order/nesting of these boxes mixed up?

Best,
Ron
Logged
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2002, 03:13:58 PM »

I would put the top two boxes in reverse order, that is "socializing together" is the big box, followed by "being liked."  One can socialize and not "be liked" (this is not to say they are disliked).

In fact, I wonder if being liked is even a box at all, or is simply a social action, rather than a containing box...that is, you socialize with the intent of being liked (perhaps not consciously, but if you are not liked you stop attempting to socialize with that group).

On second thought, perhaps that was Ron's point with his structuring of the social model -- being liked is at the top since it is the reason for engagement in the smaller box (socializing).  Though it is certainly not the ONLY reason for socializing (a politician or spy would socialize for other reasons than simply being liked, though they would attempt to be liked in order to achieve their actual goal).

As to Ron's question:
Quote
Now: does anyone think that many role-players tend to get the order/nesting of these boxes mixed up?

Yes.
Check that.
HELL yes.

I think the stereotypical gamer geek...well, an individual in any fringe hobby...tends to put the last box FIRST. That is, all their socializing occurs within the role-playing group box, and if they aren't included in a role-playing group, they feel disliked and cut-off, despite other activities they may enjoy or participate in...if any at all (as the group becomes their sole desired outlet for social activity).

(Interesting, I wonder how this reflects my own situation, though with the obvious differences?)

As well, a role-player will join a role-playing group to be liked: the whole false "gamer brotherhood" ideal.

I can honestly say we had an individual in our high-school group who displayed exactly this sort of behavior -- anecdote: he was a college student and invited my 16-year old (male) cousin out for beers at the bar, rather than someone in his own peer group (let's ignore the illegality of the proposal for the moment).  He was also the only member we all voted on removing from the group after he had attended only two games.

I mention gender to divorce this from any sexuality issues -- had my cousin been female, the attempt could have been seen as an act of courtship rather than a purely social one.
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2002, 03:24:45 PM »

Hi Raven,

I agree. The stereotypical "gamer," in my view, reverses the boxes. To him or her, the In A Role-playing Group box is the big one, and within that (if I'm lucky, says the gamer) is the Being Liked box. And then (if I'm really really lucky), the gamer can Socialize with the ones who like him or her.

Tied to this is the idea that role-playing as a behavior means a bunch of people who cannot interact socially with any success simply moving toward one another. They do not constitute a distinct social scene, but rather an escapist asocial huddle. The role-playing has little value beyond giving them, as huddle members, something to do and a faux-social language by which to identify one another.

I confess: I loathe this model of gaming and role-playing culture. My box-construction is as I described earlier, and - bluntly - I consider it to be healthier and myself to be happier. It's hard for me to imagine a refutation of my view (but that's typical; who can?). Being around people who conform to the stereotypical view is hard for me, and as a campus role-playing club advisor, I consider myself to be in a social-mentor role to help people break it themselves, if they want to.

I'm well aware that this is a huge value judgment on my part. I'm also well aware that anyone can "be" any way they want, so trying to run around and change others at the macro-level isn't a viable goal for me or anyone else. If anyone has input about the issue that doesn't conform with me, do not fear some crushing rejection on my part, 'cause I recognize the personal nature of the topic.

All input/comments are welcome.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2002, 05:37:21 PM »

As Raven said, many gamers completely confuse the boxes. Not only that, but - as gamers like rules - they tend to attach rules to the boxes. The most common one is, "If someone is a role-player, other role-players should band together with them." This sub-culture protection is one of the most harmful behaviors in the hobby. Why? Because it stops the exclusion of people harmful to the overall social interaction.

With this sort of topic, evidence becomes nearly impossible to find. Anecdotes contain most of the input you can get. Imagine example 1:

You and your friends that you role-play with (see the traditional 'like->socialize->role-play' box model here) want a new player. Even more likely, a person e-mails you and asks if he can be in your group. Since he, well, role-plays, and this 'tend to our own' behavior exists, you say, "Sure." He joins, and two sessions in not only does not get along with the group, but willfully tries not to get along.

(Tangent: Now, before you say, "Why would he willfully not get along?," think about your very stereotypical gamer geek. For a reason I haven't fully figured out yet, socially-incompetent geeks argue in order to be liked, which of course ostracizes them from socially-competent people. My guess is a combination of the need for attention and the want to prove that they have some knowledge that the others are unaware of. Whatever the case, it happens - think of that guy in high school who everyone knew because everyone abused him. If you had one, he probably got himself into a situation every week. I'm saying he did it on purpose.)

Anyhow, this guy who tries to cause tension in your group will destroy it over the long run. If we cling to the sub-culture protection behavior, we kill our entire group - and damage the relationships between people we like. If we choose to abandon this behavior, we tell the guy he's a dick, and drop him.

---

I get accused of being harsh for this viewpoint. I managed to make enemies with half the gamers in Seattle for telling one of them I didn't want to game with him because I didn't like him. Coming from practical application of this, I actually posit that we continue the subculture-protection behavior, while acknowledging it. That is, we should help socially-challenged gamers. If we acknowledge what we're doing instead of willfully ignoring the problem, though, we can perform an altruistic deed while not destroying our larger boxes.
Logged

Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Matt Snyder
Member

Posts: 1380


WWW
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2002, 05:55:48 PM »

Ron, this issue -- that is, the gamer social model you’re criticizing here is one key reason why my own group -- particularly the “old school” group I mentioned above -- does not have frequent contact with other groups and role-players that we’ve encountered. I think we’re atypical in that we’re gamers AFTER we’re geographically located classmates and after we’re good friends. We participated in many, many social events outside of gaming, and still do frequently. We often delay the start of a session to talk about wives, or the NFL, or whatever. I guess we’re sorta like already converted mainstreamers? Perhaps.

Anyway, I say this because I recognize that the contact we had with other groups when one of our group members ran a comic/hobby store was not positive. We could not connect with them, and had often dissimilar interests and discussions from this crowd?

Is/was it a value judgment about people? Yeah. So I sympathize with what you’re saying. I think the social barriers that 1) the “stereotypical” groups erected and 2) our perceptions of their social interaction kept us from seeking out newer members or even just conversing with these groups we observed. (And, yes, we had other social issues, like being old friends making it hard for anyone “new” to “join in” regardless).

So, when I said I was perfectly happy with my current group “in the basement” I think that was because it’s an atypical gamer group (that is, it’s members are pretty “mainstream” guys, whatever that means). It’s also because we believe, rightly or wrongly, that it’s nearly impossible to identify similarly minded(?) players. Not that they don’t exist or that we wouldn’t accept them even in the group, but that we 1) don’t know how to find them based on prior experience and 2) don’t really need to.

I’m saying all this to put my experience in perspective, particularly since I’ve come to believe over the years that we’re anything but stereotypical gamers (though I’m less and less sure what that is anymore!). So, Ron and everyone can factor that into the bigger picture, if they wish.
Logged

Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Stuart DJ Purdie
Member

Posts: 69


« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2002, 06:05:59 PM »

This is phrased as an explanation of what Ron said he observed.  I'm not sure it is, but it's the only way I can see to express this.

Consider the time when a person takes up role playing.  It seems to me that, in the majority of cases, this occurs at a school, collage or university setting.  In such a setting, the people who you game with will tend to be people that you meet often.  Causing acrimony (asking them to leave a gaming group when _they_ feel that they have done no wrong) is going to be very painful, due to the continued meetings.  

Because of this, there is an understanding (at least, within all the gaming groups I've been in) that one need not like someone to game with them.  Additionally, one may like a person, but not like the character they play (or, more maturelly, recognise there is a GNS mismatch), and still not ask them to leave, for the reasons above.

I posit this as a first cause, for the currently self perpetuating situation.

Alas, if I'm correct, it strikes me as being difficult to prevent from occuring.

A though:  In the spirit of 'if all the player design ex-military characters, they want combat',  what, if anything, does it mean if most of the play time turns into general chit-chat, assuming that the content of the game is "good"?
Logged
Pages: 1 [2] 3
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!