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General Forge Forums => Site Discussion => Topic started by: xiombarg on May 10, 2004, 07:19:13 AM



Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: xiombarg on May 10, 2004, 07:19:13 AM
Jason might get mad at me for calling attention to this, but as it's a public post "on the record", I'd like to point it out:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/jasonlblair/98591.html

Regardless of what you think of Jason's particular point, I'd like to call attention to the discussion going on in the comments section of that post. I think it says a lot about how the Forge is percieved from "the outside", and not just by members of the RPG industry.

I certainly think that there's been a lot more anger and negativity from long-time posters recently (myself included, I'm not singling anyone out) than is normal for the Forge, and it's enhancing an already-negative reputation. I'm less concerned about the reputation than the actual negativity...


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: DevP on May 10, 2004, 09:03:39 AM
Ouch. Really, really disheartening.

I'm concerned with "how we look", because (a) that's not objectively wrong, it's just fact based on what people say, so we can't argue it away. and (b) it impacts the effectiveness of projects known to be Forge-influenced. And we can actually create social rules to approach those problems.

As for longer-term folks: from whence does your negativity come? What do we do?


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: DevP on May 10, 2004, 09:04:37 AM
As a point of courtesy, I'd say that if you're LJ enabled, but "you wouldn't have picked up on this normally" (you haven't friended Jason Blair), you probably shouldn't pile onto the discussion there. I'm just sayin'.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: xiombarg on May 10, 2004, 09:20:31 AM
Quote from: Dev
As a point of courtesy, I'd say that if you're LJ enabled, but "you wouldn't have picked up on this normally" (you haven't friended Jason Blair), you probably shouldn't pile onto the discussion there. I'm just sayin'.

I'd agree with that, as a point of etiquette. Although if Jason didn't want outside commentary, he could have made the post friends-only. But that's why I said "look" and not "go there and comment". If you want to comment, that's what this thread is for. ;-D


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: chadu on May 10, 2004, 09:24:28 AM
Quote from: Dev
Ouch. Really, really disheartening.

I'm concerned with "how we look", because (a) that's not objectively wrong, it's just fact based on what people say, so we can't argue it away. and (b) it impacts the effectiveness of projects known to be Forge-influenced. And we can actually create social rules to approach those problems.

As for longer-term folks: from whence does your negativity come? What do we do?


I'll bite. As I said in the thread in question:
* Forge jargon/terminology is extremely dense to the unintitated.
* Reliance on previous posts to build foundations for discussion (while good in principle, I think this leads to an ever-increasing overhead of effort to say anything, as well as the enshrining of previous threads as "writ" -- that which must be read rather than should or may be read).
* Somewhat exclusionary or arch language, in various stripes ("we here," etc., referring to posters here to another poster here; "the 'industry'" when referring to the game industry, and so forth).
* Frankly, I often disagree with some of the theories and principles espoused here, once I can disentangle meaning from the terminology. And I get the feeling that once these theories and principles have been enshrined as writ, it's difficult to offer a different perspective or even say "it just doesn't apply." After that, some people take offense at the repudiation of theory, or attempt to fit the subject into extant theory anyway. (There's a better way to say this point, but I'm pressed at the moment.)

All together, these points do give me a negative feeling about the Forge: I very much feel like an outsider, and also feel that if I posted more about my takes on various theories and opinions accepted as writ, that even if I became an insider, I'd still be a heretic, if not an infidel. That impression (even if I'm holding it wrongly) is not conducive for me to want to spend more time here.

ASIDE:
I also have some purely self-interested concerns re: attempting to start discussion of my own game (and my lack of success in doing so), but xiombarg pointed out some points that helped me understand some reasons why folks might not be talking about it, despite it being an indie game:
1. The Forge is geared towards game development and academic analysis rather than simply being a community site.
2. I did no development of my game here.
3. While I've been registered for over a year, I don't participate much.

But I don't hold anything against the Forge for these self-interested aspects.

CU


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: ethan_greer on May 10, 2004, 09:41:59 AM
It's interesting to note that this sort of topic comes up every so often.  The tone is usually the same: "Oh, the Forge just isn't what it used to be; whatever can we do to fix it?" Looking back on this whole "Hubris" hoopla that's been happening, I'm pretty embarrassed that I actually facilitated it (not for the first time). To answer the original question I posted in the other hubris thread (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=11009&highlight=): No, it's not desirable. I made a mistake in starting that thread.

Bottom line: People participate or not on the Forge for myriad reasons. Beyond stating that blindingly obvious point, what more is there to say?


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: clehrich on May 10, 2004, 09:46:05 AM
While I sympathize with the various posters on that LJ thread, I am still (obviously) a Forge fan.  The thing is, there are a large number of things going on simultaneously in those criticisms, and they're not very well distinguished.  I'm not slamming anyone -- that was an exchange of views, not a careful set of analyses -- but I do think that if we're going to debate its relevance to the Forge, here on the Forge, we need to split things up a bit.  What follows is a very quick-and-dirty breakdown of a very complicated set of problems.

1. The "cult of Ron" effect
I think there is some truth to this.  There are those who see the Forge as very much a "Ron's Board" sort of thing, and they behave on or toward the Forge accordingly.  For this group of people, there are thus only two ways to go: either you're for the Forge (and Ron) or you're against it.  

I don't know that there's anything to be done about this.  Ron isn't going to give up his moderator's position, nor is he going to stop having opinions, and thus some will probably always see the Forge as a Ron cult.  About all that can be done, I think, is for those of us who post a lot and do not always agree with Ron to be explicit about that, without simply trashing him.  Maybe, over time, this will filter out: people will recognize that while Ron does have a powerful voice here, one of the most powerful, there are other voices that are not entirely in agreement with his.

2. GNS
Some seem to perceive the Forge as a GNS-promoting place.  I don't know why this is the case, really, given that GNS has its own forum.  I have said before, and will probably say again, that we should all be a little more scrupulous not to use GNS/Big Model terminology very much outside that forum.  But some of those terms are so useful it's hard to know how to avoid them.  Somebody suggested a Wiki based on the forthcoming glossary, and with cross-references from postings you could certainly make the whole thing more usable.  But that's a lot to ask of posters.

3. Jargon
One very common complaint seems to be that Forge writers use a lot of jargon that is incomprehensible.  When called upon to explain, we refer to previous posts rather than explaining anew.  This makes the site extremely newbie-unfriendly.

I think there is truth to this.  I am not convinced that all of the terminology that gets coined here is really that useful; there is some degree to which jargon breeds jargon, and there is a satisfaction in being one of the in-crowd who "get" the jargon.  I see the recent discussion of splitting Social Contract as an exercise tending in this direction (just a recent example, not a particularly egregious one).

At the same time, I think that one of the advantages of decent jargon is that it tends toward precision.  There is a good deal of value in questioning whether specific terms do indeed support precision, but to dismiss all jargon can only lead to people going around and around in circles.

4. Elitism
I think this claim is basically crap.  It's not clear to me what is supposed to make Forgers elite, or rather, what it is that the Forgers in question are supposed to think makes them elite.

5. Academic
This is the notion that the Forge is very academic, in style and purpose.  One does indeed see a great deal of this notion stated explicitly at the Forge, and it's getting picked up in this sort of discussion.

I also think this is crap.  I'm an academic, I spend a lot of time dealing with a range of not-usually-related academic disciplines, and there is nothing particularly academic about the Forge.  The writing style is different.  The approaches are different.  The purposes are utterly different.  The terminology is totally different.  The expectations of members, and the means of dealing with them, are totally different.

Fixing this starts at home.  Forgers have got to stop this nonsense about how academic they are.  It's just promoting the idea that Forgers think they are elites (see #4).

6. Intellectuals
On a related note, lots of folks criticize the Forge for being overly intellectual, or perhaps pseudo-intellectual.  It is also true that a number of Forge posters like to mention how intellectual they are, or how intelligent.  Points 4-5-6 thus feed into a spiraling, horrible cycle, promoting more and more jargon-use.

If you have to use jargon or announcements to prove how intellectual you are, and have to claim some sort of weird affiliation to the academy to support it, you validate the criticisms.  And too much of this does indeed go on.

7. Practicality
Lots of folks, here and elsewhere, denounce the Forge for being too focused on impractical issues, i.e. those not related closely to practical game design or play.  GNS is "abstract," for example, and thus impractical.

By my reading, the problem is that practicality and analytical abstraction are far too closely intertwined here.  The problem with GNS, for example, is that it tries to be both an analytical, abstract theory and a practical game-design theory.  This leads to endless cycles of difficulty.  The introduction of my ritual essay (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/26/) discusses this.

I do think this is a problem, but I think that fixing it will take some considerable rethinking on everyone's parts.

8. Ron's Opinions
Yes, Ron is opinionated.  No, Ron is not always right.  Yes, sometimes Ron goes too far.  No, I can't think of anyone better for the Forge moderator job.

I think that an awful lot of the problem here is that lots of folks do not want a moderated board.  They want a free-for-all.  Well, that's tough; there are lots of unmoderated boards out there.  How come the Forge keeps its level generally high?  Yup, that's not a coincidence.

Could Ron be a little more flexible at times?  Yes.  Is dealing with Ron usually a pain in the ass?  No.

----

In sum, we deserve some of these attacks, and not others.  But it's all wrapped up together.  Some folks get here and start to figure out GNS, so they use the terms everywhere because they think the terms (and they themselves) are really cool.  And that prompts negative responses -- "Elitist!  Jargon!"  And that in turn prompts, "Yeah, you just don't get it."

For example, why the common (now dying, fortunately) notion that Narrativism is better than other CA's?  Because Ron is into Nar, and lots of folks want to get on that wagon.  Why the resistance to any changes at all in the structure of the Big Model?  Because it's Ron's model, and it's the Forge's pet model.

This isn't Ron's fault.  This isn't anyone's fault, in particular.  But it is something we all need to work on: we must be relentlessly self-critical, and we must be really scrupulous about welcoming people without simply giving a huge list of threads to read (unless they ask for that specifically, of course).


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: xiombarg on May 10, 2004, 10:17:24 AM
Quote from: clehrich
But it is something we all need to work on: we must be relentlessly self-critical, and we must be really scrupulous about welcoming people without simply giving a huge list of threads to read (unless they ask for that specifically, of course).

Certainly I think that we're reaching a point where, aside from just pointing to a thread, it might help if the person pointing to a thread mentions what they consider to be the most important parts of the that thread, sort of a "Reader's Digest" or "Back Cover Blurb," as it were.

Also, I think we all need to be more careful how we treat people we disagree with. As I said, I've been as guilty of this as anyone else. But I think there needs to be more effort -- which I've seen done in the past -- to make people understand that even if there is disagreement, that one isn't "coming down on" the poster in question.

Of course, as the community grows, it becomes harder and harder to present a consistent tone, so this might be another one of those "growing pains" issues.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Valamir on May 10, 2004, 10:23:46 AM
I read Jason's LJ and the comments to it with a decided disinterest.  

The Forge is not a social club.  It is not a sign that something is wrong when a couple of long time members reduce or stop posting.  The Forge is a place to learn from others and to share what you've learned with others in the area of RPG play and design.  That's what we're for.  If someone has learned all they want to learn to enhance their personal play and design.  And if they've contributed everything they feel they have to contribute...then there's no harm in them deciding to cut back on their presence here.

Jason and Jared were both frequent posters at one point.  Now they aren't.  I don't either of them would say that they did not benefit from their time at the Forge, and likely will continue to do so.  That's great.  in my view those are successes not failures.  Perhaps one day they'll be regular participants again, perhaps not.  Either way, the Forge has fulfilled its function.


I keep track of the number of new members and the number of members setting breaking posting thresholds every quarter.  Those numbers show no signs at all of some terrible calamity befalling the Forge.  Comments like "go the way of GO" is just so much outrageous and unsubstantiated hyberbole.  There are new names joining the Forge and joining Forge discussions every day.

As for the strong encouragement to read past discussions.  Of course that's an expectation.  A lot of people have spent alot of time and effort discussing alot of issues with a degree of intent and intellectual integrity that, while not unique, is certainly difficult to find on the internet at large.  To start a new conversation on that same topic without haveing read those old threads defeats the very purpose of the Forge as a repository of collective knowledge.

Forge members are encouraged to contribute.  But in order to contribute effectively they are also encouraged to read prior contributions so that we aren't retreading the same ground.  40 posts on a topic that is essentially the same conversation we just had 8 months ago doesn't do anyone any good.  Maybe, it makes a new poster feel more welcome to have their thoughts responded to directly rather than being referred to existing threads...but I'll repeat.  The Forge isn't a social club.  We aren't here to chat and hold conversations for the sake of holding conversations.  

Ron has never shut a thread down just because its a repeat of an earlier thread.  He has (and rightly so, IMO) requested that participants read the old threads and only continue the coversation if they are adding some new perspective that wasn't already covered before.  I'll not that he regularly reminds long term Forgites to reread those threads too as a refresher, even for those of us who participated in them.  The same standard applied to old and new members seems quite fair to me.

I certainly don't think it is at all beyond the pale to ask new posters to familiarize themselves with prior discussions first.  For them not to do so would be discourteous to the efforts of everyone who has gone before.  It is an effort to do this.  But I've been here long enough to see dozens and dozens of brand new posters to the Forge take the plunge, read through the material and then become wonderful regular contributors.  New heights are reached by standing on the shoulders of others rather than starting from scratch on every topic.  What possible logical reason could there be to NOT read the old posts, so that one can make ones own point with a head start.


In any social endeavor you are going to have a clash of ego.  Ego is a good thing.  Ego is a healthy thing.  Ego is what lets people stride forward and make contributions and achieve great things without needing constant hand holding and stroking from others.  I don't think its any great stretch to say that the average ego among GMs is higher than that of all players in general, and that the average ego among game designers is higher even then that among GMs.  I don't think its any great stretch to say further that the average ego among designers who actually take the plunge and get paid for their work and put themselves and their work up for public scrutiny and the vote of the almighty dollar is higher yet.

Which means, there are alot of egos flying around the Forge.  Recognizing many of the names of folks contributing to Blairs LJ entry I can also say with certainty that there are alot of egos flying around there as well.

And yet despite all of that, the Forge persists as being one of the most non-hostile, consistantly productive, and consistantly active RPG discussion sites on the net with a signal to noise ration second to none.  That's a hell of an accomplishment.  Are we to be surprised when from time to time egos flair?  It is a tribute to Ron's moderation that egos don't flair more frequently, and a sign of his own humanity that from time to time his ego is the one flairing.

As for suggestions that the Forge would be better off as a democracy, I can only guffaw.  That smacks way too much of "its not run the way I'd run it and therefor it would be 'better' if I had more say".  There are plenty of "democratically" run sites on the net...few if any can compare with our signal to noise ratio.  Give me a benevolent dictatorship any day.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Judd on May 10, 2004, 10:30:17 AM
Ralph,

Well said.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: chadu on May 10, 2004, 11:01:14 AM
Two follow-up points on (Christopher's?) post:

Quote from: clehrich
2. GNS
(snip) GNS/Big Model terminology (snip) But some of those terms are so useful it's hard to know how to avoid them.  Somebody suggested a Wiki based on the forthcoming glossary, (snip).


I've just seen the new glossary, and it is much better wading through that than wading through a bajillion previous threads. That being said. . .
 
Quote from: clehrich
3. Jargon
One very common complaint seems to be that Forge writers use a lot of jargon that is incomprehensible.  When called upon to explain, we refer to previous posts rather than explaining anew.  This makes the site extremely newbie-unfriendly.

I think there is truth to this.  I am not convinced that all of the terminology that gets coined here is really that useful; there is some degree to which jargon breeds jargon, and there is a satisfaction in being one of the in-crowd who "get" the jargon.


These aspects of jargon are still a factor, even in the glossary. While making the jargon less opaque, it's still not quite to transparency. (Perhaps translucence.) The linkages to primary threads is an excellent start, but to make the glossary transparent to me personally, I think consensus-agreed examples (in-operation and in-discussion) for each term would be a godsend.

Because I'm -- like you -- unsure that the terminology is that useful, I also have concerns that the terminology is not value-judgement neutral/comes with baggage (though this is only a mild impression), that the terminology is more baroque than it needs to be, and that the jargon is being used inconsistently. As you say (unquoted), jargon can be quite precise, but if it's not being used correctly each time, the precision goes away.

To sum up, presented with a precise set of words that so far as I can tell is being used inconsistenly, with no common ur-example to illustrate it so that I could determine the definition myself, I as a lurker find myself in a wash of buzzwords and soundbites.

CU


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: chadu on May 10, 2004, 11:08:23 AM
Quote from: Valamir
As for the strong encouragement to read past discussions.  Of course that's an expectation.  A lot of people have spent alot of time and effort discussing alot of issues with a degree of intent and intellectual integrity that, while not unique, is certainly difficult to find on the internet at large.  To start a new conversation on that same topic without haveing read those old threads defeats the very purpose of the Forge as a repository of collective knowledge.


I respectfully disagree. One doesn't need to have read the entire Midrash to make a comment on an insight that someone's gleaned from the Torah.  The point is to have those discussions, and yes, point newcomers back at what has been said in the past, but not to limit or shut down discussion of the topic.

After all, that's the point of interest and entree for the newcomer. To tell them: "everything you are saying/could say has been said before" isn't welcoming or particularly encouraging.

To get hyperbolic, contrast "hey, that's cool; here's what's been talked about before on this topic, you might want to check it out" with "you must read thread X, Y, and Z before anyone here will listen to your paltry latecomer thoughts which probably have already been said, you schmuck."

As a reader, I'm much more amenable to the former than the latter, which spurs a "Hey, man, don't deprotagonize me" response.

:)


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Valamir on May 10, 2004, 11:46:06 AM
Quote
To get hyperbolic, contrast "hey, that's cool; here's what's been talked about before on this topic, you might want to check it out" with "you must read thread X, Y, and Z before anyone here will listen to your paltry latecomer thoughts which probably have already been said, you schmuck."

As a reader, I'm much more amenable to the former than the latter, which spurs a "Hey, man, don't deprotagonize me" response.


I'll agree with you the moment you can point me to any thread which ever said the latter.

Obviously you can't which is why you called it getting hyperbolic.

So what then?  What are we to do, when we refer new comers to other threads entirely in the spirit of the former, and yet through the limitations of the electronic medium, a defensive nature, or just plum thin skinnedness they take it as the latter?

Is the source of your disatisfaction that we don't molly coddle enough?  Are we really talking about people's feelings being hurt because we don't gush and rave over a post that they had thought was more inciteful than it really was?  

Call me mean spirited, I guess, but I have no desire to spend much time worrying about whether or not people's feelings are being hurt.  People will choose to be offended or they will choose to take the comments in the spirit they were offered.  And if they aren't sure of the spirit they were offered in, they will choose to jump to conclusions, or they will choose to contact the commentator and ask for clarification.

The Forge demands that posters (new and old) take comments in a constructive spirit and if they feel they've been offended that they take it up with the other party, preferably by PM, to sort it out.  In my book that's basic adult behavior.  

Beyond that, exactly what specific solutions do you have in mind, and exactly what specific responsibilities are you prepared to concede new posters have be willing to shoulder?


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: chadu on May 10, 2004, 12:04:06 PM
Quote from: Valamir
Quote
To get hyperbolic, contrast "hey, that's cool; here's what's been talked about before on this topic, you might want to check it out" with "you must read thread X, Y, and Z before anyone here will listen to your paltry latecomer thoughts which probably have already been said, you schmuck."

As a reader, I'm much more amenable to the former than the latter, which spurs a "Hey, man, don't deprotagonize me" response.


I'll agree with you the moment you can point me to any thread which ever said the latter.

Obviously you can't which is why you called it getting hyperbolic.


Well, to to that extreme extent, no. But I can point you to this:

Quote from: Mike Holmes
F. Like I've said, this has all been worked out before. Not using the search engine to discover the previous information, and then posting to a thread like this when you've been told that it exists only makes you look assinine.

To whit, here are some typical examples for those who claim that they don't have the mental facilities or time to learn how to use the search engine:


from this (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=11076) thread, which is a bit more strongly worded than I think is appropriate.

In the interests of full disclosure, Mike and I have had a decent conversation, I feel, even after that exchange.

Quote from: Valamir
So what then?  What are we to do, when we refer new comers to other threads entirely in the spirit of the former, and yet through the limitations of the electronic medium, a defensive nature, or just plum thin skinnedness they take it as the latter?


I'd say all one can do is moderate one's language to match the spirit of the former -- if someone takes, "hey, man, you might like to check this out" as a diss, well, that's their issue. I'm just saying don't be brutal.

Quote from: Valamir
Is the source of your disatisfaction that we don't molly coddle enough?


Well, I'd call it polite manners and an aesthetic  of openness rather than mollycoddling.

Quote from: Valamir
Are we really talking about people's feelings being hurt because we don't gush and rave over a post that they had thought was more inciteful than it really was?


I'm not sure at this point how insightful my post was, personally. If others felt it wasn't, I think the appropriate course would be to simply ignore the thread rather than inform the poster how un-insightful it was.  

Quote from: Valamir
Beyond that, exactly what specific solutions do you have in mind, and exactly what specific responsibilities are you prepared to concede new posters have be willing to shoulder?
http://Wel, I think that suggestions for previous thread reading should be targeted. That is, not "look through the search engine," but rather "maybe you should look at thread X, thread Y, and thread Z." That's more constructive, I think -- the oldtimer is pointing out to the newcomer further,  [i]specific[/i] information, serving as a guide -- and dare we say "educator" -- for the unintitated.New posters should be receptive to comments, and should follow-up on those suggested targeted threads offered in good faith that seem relevant. All posters should be polite.That's about all I got.CU


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: ethan_greer on May 10, 2004, 12:32:20 PM
Quote from: chadu
All posters should be polite.


Okay, that's something more that needed said.  Every so often, it's a good reminder. Thanks!

No, I'm not being sarcastic.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Matt Wilson on May 10, 2004, 01:12:42 PM
Could there be any irony in a LJ post about hubris at the Forge where someone calls the 2003 booth folks a bunch of groupies?


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Walt Freitag on May 10, 2004, 01:20:08 PM
I suggest keeping in mind that the thread Chad is quoting is an unusual, even unique, case. While it's no consolation to Chad, who must have wondered what land mine he'd stepped on, that thread was pretty much a worst-case scenario: a perennially contentious topic (not only at the Forge but in pretty much all role playing discussion venues from gaming magazine letter columns to convention panels) that had already given rise to multiple painful Forge threads. Dwelling on that one thread as though it were typical of what happens every time a newcomer opens a topic and is referred to previous threads presents a very distorted picture.

- Walt


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: John Harper on May 10, 2004, 01:54:34 PM
I doubt Jason or Jared will see this thread, but I don't feel right commenting on Jason's LJ, so here I go.

First, Jason agrees with Pramas. Whatever. I couldn't care less about that "discussion" since I thought the two main posters were behaving like big crybabies. It happens. It happens on every single Internet forum ever created (google around for the Miracle Whip vs. mayo flame wars sometime). It isn't symptomatic of anything unusual. It's certainly not the "death" of the Forge.

Jason then goes on to talk about the Forge's "leader" and right there, he takes a wrong turn. The rest of the post and the responses are pretty meaningless as a result. The Forge does not have a "leader". The Forge is made up of the people that post to it. Period. The Forge is me. The Forge is Chris Pramas. The Forge is Jason Blair.

It's not complicated. These kinds of issues seem to crop up whenever someone approaches the Forge as if it's some kind of exclusive club that you have to get into. It's just an Intenet forum, people. It's open to the public. If you don't like the way the Forge is, then post what you want to see. Talk about what you want to talk about. There's no reason to cast yourself as some helpless victim of the all-powerful Ron Edwards cult. Grow up and speak up and take a fucking stand if it bothers you so much.

I mean, really. I could bitch all day long about what a cesspool the RPG.net forums are and that there are only a few "good" people there that I respect, and that everyone else is a braindead l33t Ninja-loving fanboy -- but why bother? I can post there and discuss what I want to and ignore the assholes. It isn't hard. It's incredibly easy, in fact.

The recent Pramas thing is typical. He shows up and says some stuff and Ron disagrees with him. Instead of saying, "Okay, Ron doesn't agree. Whatever." and continuing to post, Chris goes straight to 11 and works himself into a state where he has to "leave" because he "isn't wanted". What the hell? I for one love Chris Pramas's game products and I'd love to have him post here. But not if he can't bear to deal with a jerk or two. That's par for the course. I assume that EVERYONE online is a huge asshole. Sometimes people react badly to what you post. It isn't the end of the world and it isn't some kind of expulsion.

And the really ironic thing is that Ron is a *great* moderator. The best I've ever seen. But does that mean perfect? No. Ron fucks up sometimes, just like we all do. So what? Ron is not the Forge. RON IS NOT THE FORGE. From what I can tell from the statistics, Ron is 7.62% of the Forge content. And a moderator. That's all.

The other 92% is you and me. We're the Forge. Sweeping generalizations about a group of a few thousand people are just plain silly.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: John Kim on May 10, 2004, 04:49:55 PM
Well,

The practical question is whether there is anything that can be done to change the perception of the Forge.  Chris Lehrich outlined a number of problems with the Forge's reputation -- along with analysis about whether he thought they were valid or invalid complaints.  I'd like to skip that analysis and suggest what can possibly be done about the reputation.  

1) Move the official articles and reviews out of their own section, and instead have links to them and others as part of the Resource Library.  By having a list of links instead of requiring hosting at the Forge, the official Forge article list could be more diverse -- pointing to some of the excellent articles on the Oracle, RPGnet columns, and/or (ahem) my own RPG theory site.  As it stands, Ron is sole author of 38 out of 48 of the official works (27/30 reviews and 11/18 essays), as well as being the moderator and #1 most prolific poster of the boards (with nearly 9000 posts).  

2) Have some sort of advisory board with a semi-official capacity.  In particular, from the recent spat I think it would be nice to have someone else to appeal to if you disagree with a ruling or reprimand.  The final word, of course, comes down to the person whose account the website is under (which I believe is Clinton).  However, even if its advice isn't binding, I think it helps to have someone else to appeal to who will register your complaint.  

3) Publically credit people who make donations to the Forge.  This probably will encourage contributions and create more of a communal feeling.  A potential drawback is that people who have contributed more could try to use this as status over others.  However, this has to be weighed against all credit going to Ron and Clinton.  

4) Visibly distinguish moderator posts from participant posts.  This could be as simple as Ron and Clinton using a special convention (i.e. red text, perhaps) for a posts as moderator, or could be fancier.  

Now, these are just suggestions.  Ultimately, the person who is paying for the web server is the one who controls this sort of thing.  But those are my thoughts.  While I think the current administrative set-up isn't bad, I don't think that quality of discussion is solely linked to that.  For example, rgfa had no moderation at all, and had a pretty good three-year run (from 1995 to 1998) -- which is about as long as the Forge has been going thus far.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Mark Johnson on May 10, 2004, 05:57:03 PM
Greetings,

I think that most of the problems that have been brought up here lately could be simply addressed through the creation of an "Anti-Forge," an alternate site for indie-RPG discussion with a totally different focus.  

I love the Forge as it is.  If anything, an anti-Forge would let the Forge do what the Forge does best and let the indie gaming community have different types of discussions in a different sort of environment.

And, no, I am not volunteering to start it.  I am just throwing down the gauntlet.  If you have a vision of an alternative community with a different purpose... build it.  They will come.

Regards,
Mark

BTW this is NOT an attack on anyone or anything said recently.  It IS a call to action.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: joshua neff on May 10, 2004, 06:34:20 PM
Actually, Mark, that's a really good point. I mean no disrespect to Jason or Jared, because I like both of those guys. But it's obscenely easy to criticize the Forge--or any other website--to complain about how it used to be good but it's gone downhill, or it's never been good, or it's too exclusive, or whatever. Doesn't impress me at all. What would be impressive would be to start your own website. Think the Forge is too intellectual? Or too fanboyish? Or too...whatever? Start your own website and do it better.

(Similarly, does anyone think RPGnet is a drunken barroom brawl of a website, full of too much noise and not enough signal? Make your own website and do it better.)

Otherwise, it's just complaining. Which isn't really doing anything.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: chadu on May 10, 2004, 06:50:54 PM
Quote from: Walt Freitag
I suggest keeping in mind that the thread Chad is quoting is an unusual, even unique, case. (snip) Dwelling on that one thread as though it were typical of what happens every time a newcomer opens a topic and is referred to previous threads presents a very distorted picture.


Fair enough and good point.

So, maybe not treat it as a typical case, but at least a datapoint?

CU


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Valamir on May 10, 2004, 07:03:41 PM
Quote from: John Kim
1) Move the official articles and reviews out of their own section, and instead have links to them and others as part of the Resource Library.  By having a list of links instead of requiring hosting at the Forge, the official Forge article list could be more diverse -- pointing to some of the excellent articles on the Oracle, RPGnet columns, and/or (ahem) my own RPG theory site.  As it stands, Ron is sole author of 38 out of 48 of the official works (27/30 reviews and 11/18 essays), as well as being the moderator and #1 most prolific poster of the boards (with nearly 9000 posts).


I don't see the advantage of this at all.  One of the key purposes of the Forge is to build a common lexicon not only of terms but of concepts that serve as building blocks to further discussion.

Of what conceivable value is diluting those efforts by including articles that don't utilize that common lexicon on the same level as those that do.  How does that accomplish anything but confusing things.

That is in no way shape or form suggesting that those outside articles aren't really good, or don't have any good points, but when John Doe's article on RPG.net discusses Railroading (as a for instance) we can't be sure that he's using the term in the same way that we've come to use it.  So placing it along side articles that do adhere to the Forge convention for the term seems incredibly destructive.


Quote
2) Have some sort of advisory board with a semi-official capacity.  In particular, from the recent spat I think it would be nice to have someone else to appeal to if you disagree with a ruling or reprimand.  The final word, of course, comes down to the person whose account the website is under (which I believe is Clinton).  However, even if its advice isn't binding, I think it helps to have someone else to appeal to who will register your complaint.  


This already exists.  What do you want a lapel pin?  Are you someone who's been around long enough to understand the Forge mission and not be talking out of you hat?  Yes.  Are you someone whose opinion the membership at large, and Ron in particular respects and appreciates?  Yes.  Then you are automatically an "advisor".

I have sent emails to Ron that basically called him to task for something.  I have seen Ron publically apologize, noting that he'd gotten a slew of PMs suggesting he was out of line.  What more than that would a formal advisory board accomplish?  


Quote
3) Publically credit people who make donations to the Forge.  This probably will encourage contributions and create more of a communal feeling.  A potential drawback is that people who have contributed more could try to use this as status over others.  However, this has to be weighed against all credit going to Ron and Clinton.  


I've been in favor of this for other reasons (primarily guilting people into donating).  But yeah, I think a simple status screen, where the Forge's total expenses is listed along side how much total cash has come in from donations and how much has been personally footed by Clinton and/or Ron would be a fine addition.

Kind of like those charity drive thermometer signs.


Quote
4) Visibly distinguish moderator posts from participant posts.  This could be as simple as Ron and Clinton using a special convention (i.e. red text, perhaps) for a posts as moderator, or could be fancier.


I can see some merit in making Offical Moderator Hat type posts in Red text.  But I'm not sure exactly what that would accomplish.  I rarely ever have trouble distinguishing one hat from another, and if a post is so blurred as to make that distinction difficult, would Ron himself beable to parse it into the appropriate colors?  I predict that's one of those ideas that sounds better on paper, but I wouldn't be opposed to a trial run.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: DevP on May 10, 2004, 10:10:43 PM
I really support making it so that Moderator actions are clearly different, and I'd imagine that this PHP software could itself be modified to make that really easy to do. (Like [ mod ] blah de blah [ /mod ], and so on.) Should I PM this thought to Clinton?


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: John Kim on May 11, 2004, 12:16:29 AM
Quote from: joshua neff
  What would be impressive would be to start your own website. Think the Forge is too intellectual? Or too fanboyish? Or too...whatever? Start your own website and do it better.
...
Otherwise, it's just complaining. Which isn't really doing anything.  

While I can see this applying to articles or reviews, I absolutely disagree for discussion groups.  People who disagree with the majority should not be encouraged to leave and form their own discussion groups.  Indeed, many Forge members already have their own websites and do plenty of good stuff with them.  However, they also use them to support the Forge as a common place for discussion.  That is certainly true of me.  I have some beefs with the Forge, but I still support it rather than leaving and trying to discuss elsewhere.  

Quote from: Valamir
Quote from: John Kim
1) Move the official articles and reviews out of their own section, and instead have links to them and others as part of the Resource Library.

I don't see the advantage of this at all.  One of the key purposes of the Forge is to build a common lexicon not only of terms but of concepts that serve as building blocks to further discussion.

Of what conceivable value is diluting those efforts by including articles that don't utilize that common lexicon on the same level as those that do.  How does that accomplish anything but confusing things.

On the one hand, you are correct.  My change would mean that someone who comes to the Forge would not find a unified "party line" of documents which all agree on a set of concepts.  This is in some sense more confusing than having a coherent set of documents which all agree.  However, I consider this a good thing.  In particular, I consider it good for changing the reputation of the Forge regarding how it accepts people with differing ideas.  It would open up the Forge more to new ideas from places other than the Forge.  

You're also right that it would also impede with the development of Forge-specific jargon, because with an expanded list of articles there is less chance that a newcomer will have read all of Ron Edward's articles.  Instead, he may have read Chris Chinn's RPGnet column, or my Solmukohta essay, or Hunter Logan's RPGnet column.  Again, I do not consider this a bad thing.  

Quote from: Valamir
Quote
2) Have some sort of advisory board with a semi-official capacity.  

I have sent emails to Ron that basically called him to task for something.  I have seen Ron publically apologize, noting that he'd gotten a slew of PMs suggesting he was out of line.  What more than that would a formal advisory board accomplish?

It means that someone who is pissed off or annoyed at Ron has someone to air their grievances to privately.  It's fine for you to send emails to Ron, but that is a process which is invisible to most users of the forum.   The lack of this means that anyone who has a problem with Ron has to air it publically if he wants it heard at all, as was the case with Chris Pramas.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: joshua neff on May 11, 2004, 03:14:54 AM
Quote from: John Kim
Quote from: joshua neff
  What would be impressive would be to start your own website. Think the Forge is too intellectual? Or too fanboyish? Or too...whatever? Start your own website and do it better.
...
Otherwise, it's just complaining. Which isn't really doing anything.  

While I can see this applying to articles or reviews, I absolutely disagree for discussion groups.  People who disagree with the majority should not be encouraged to leave and form their own discussion groups.  Indeed, many Forge members already have their own websites and do plenty of good stuff with them.  However, they also use them to support the Forge as a common place for discussion.  That is certainly true of me.  I have some beefs with the Forge, but I still support it rather than leaving and trying to discuss elsewhere.


Oh, I absolutely agree with you, John. You're right, I should have made it clearer: I was talking about people who don't participate in the Forge community and are, for one reason or another, unwilling to do so.

So, yes, participate and make it better. Or make your own site. Just don't simply complain or criticize.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Bankuei on May 11, 2004, 03:15:49 AM
Hi folks,

I just wanted to say that I'm with John Harper on this whole issue.

Chris


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Valamir on May 11, 2004, 03:34:10 AM
Quote
On the one hand, you are correct. My change would mean that someone who comes to the Forge would not find a unified "party line" of documents which all agree on a set of concepts. This is in some sense more confusing than having a coherent set of documents which all agree. However, I consider this a good thing. In particular, I consider it good for changing the reputation of the Forge regarding how it accepts people with differing ideas. It would open up the Forge more to new ideas from places other than the Forge.

You're also right that it would also impede with the development of Forge-specific jargon, because with an expanded list of articles there is less chance that a newcomer will have read all of Ron Edward's articles. Instead, he may have read Chris Chinn's RPGnet column, or my Solmukohta essay, or Hunter Logan's RPGnet column. Again, I do not consider this a bad thing.


And what's stopping them from reading those articles anyway?  For how many people is the Forge absolutely their only source of RPG related discussion?  

Jonathan Walton frequently links to his RPG.net column, and I've seen you link to some of yours.  When has that ever been discouraged?

Have you submitted your article for inclusion on the hosting page?  Have you added links to every article you think would be deserving of such to the Resource Library, and then announced your addition writ large? If not then you can hardly claim to be being excluded in favor of some party line.  

I am not opposed to seeing an Outside Resources section linked to the articles page.  But the articles written specifically for and about the Forge, and/or specifically vetted by the moderators of the Forge, should have a privileged location.  They represent a Forge specific identity.  I see absolutely positively ZERO advantage to diluting that identity in order to appease folks who don't give two shakes about the site anyway.


Quote
It means that someone who is pissed off or annoyed at Ron has someone to air their grievances to privately.


Someone who is pissed off at Ron, does have someone to air their grievances to privately.  Ron.  Just as someone pissed off at me, can air them with me; or someone pissed off with you can air them with you.

That's basic adult behavior in my book.  If you have a problem with someone, you take it up privately with that someone.  You don't throw a public tantrum.


Quote
It's fine for you to send emails to Ron, but that is a process which is invisible to most users of the forum. The lack of this means that anyone who has a problem with Ron has to air it publically if he wants it heard at all, as was the case with Chris Pramas.


It should be invisible to most users.  This isn't Days of Our Lives here.  We may enjoy playing Soap, but there is no need to turn the Forge into one.  It takes two to tangle my Mom always said.  In three years on the Forge I've never yet seen "an innocent victim" of someone elses posting.  

Chris's behavior on that thread was abhorrant and completely childish.  There is no excuse for throwing the pout on, gathering up ones toys and going home to sulk.  I have enormous respect for Chris, but his behavior on that thread wouldn't have been appropriate for kindergarten.  

Was Ron being an ass on the thread?  Yeah, I think he probably was.  One could make the case that Ron violated some of the rules of Forge etiquette in that thread.  He's only human.  The appropriate response for Chris would have been to take up his grievance with Ron or Clinton by PM as it clearly states in the Forge etiquette policy.

They could have hashed out their disagreement and frustration privately.  There is nothing to be gained by airing dirty laundry.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Jason L Blair on May 11, 2004, 06:24:01 AM
Quote from: John Harper
First, Jason agrees with Pramas. Whatever. I couldn't care less about that "discussion" since I thought the two main posters were behaving like big crybabies. It happens.


First, I wasn't agreeing with everything Chris said. Let that stand. I agree neither was behaving professionally. Second, you're right that it does happen.

Quote from: John Harper

Jason then goes on to talk about the Forge's "leader" and right there, he takes a wrong turn. The rest of the post and the responses are pretty meaningless as a result. The Forge does not have a "leader". The Forge is made up of the people that post to it. Period. The Forge is me. The Forge is Chris Pramas. The Forge is Jason Blair.


I call "bullshit" on this John, and not as a slam on Ron Edwards or the Forge, but the Forge most certainly has a leader and Ron Edwards is it. Your paragraph makes for a nice slogan, but it's hollow.


TO ALL:

I find a lot of the posters at the Forge to be intelligent, innovative people. Some of the best games of the past two years have come from Forge regulars and a lot of those games were baked-fresh in Vulcan's oven.

I have nothing against Ron Edwards personally or as a designer, but I hold to my claim that the Forge is becoming distressingly tight-knit and overwhelmed by its own hubris. I'm not saying this an attack but as an alarm. I like the Forge, I like refreshing design, but I cannot stand xenophobia or ego--both of which the Forge projects. And no, this has nothing to do with low self-esteem or my own emotional projection.

If you do not see it, take a step back. It's here. And it's obfuscating the intelligent discussion and debate that goes on underneath.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: ethan_greer on May 11, 2004, 06:35:09 AM
Sigh... It doesn't have to be this difficult, folks.  Just stop posting to this thread. This conversation is beyond pointless.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: John Harper on May 11, 2004, 08:01:43 AM
Quote from: Jason L Blair
First, I wasn't agreeing with everything Chris said. Let that stand. I agree neither was behaving professionally.

Fair enough. I don't want to put words in your mouth.

Quote from: Jason L Blair
I call "bullshit" on this John, and not as a slam on Ron Edwards or the Forge, but the Forge most certainly has a leader and Ron Edwards is it. Your paragraph makes for a nice slogan, but it's hollow.

Maybe you could articulate *why* you think so. Just saying "it's hollow" isn't very compelling. I'm making the case that a forum is made up of the sum of its posts and "membership" includes those that make the posts. Why is that bullshit?

Quote from: Jason L Blair
I like the Forge, I like refreshing design, but I cannot stand xenophobia or ego--both of which the Forge projects. And no, this has nothing to do with low self-esteem or my own emotional projection.

If you do not see it, take a step back. It's here. And it's obfuscating the intelligent discussion and debate that goes on underneath.

That's your opinion. I happen to disagree. Show me the xenophobia and ego. Link to some posts. I'm willing to bet that in every case it's one or two people, speaking their minds, here and there. It's a public forum. People have opinions and attitudes. Sometimes they'll be egotistical or rude or strange. That's the nature of the beast. But to point to those and say "The Forge sure is X!" is the worst kind of stereotyping.

Sure, there are all kinds of faults and flaws with this forum. For my money (and yes, I do support the Forge with donations) it's still the best thing going for intelligent discussion of RPGs. If there's something better I'd sure like to hear about it.

I'm not saying the Forge is perfect and inviolate and Thall Shalt Not Criticize. I'm saying that it's Really Damn Good, flaws and all. It could be better, but as a posting "member" of the Forge, making it better is my responsibility. John Kim is right. Nothing is accomplished by picking up your toys and going home.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: greyorm on May 11, 2004, 08:12:51 AM
Sorry, Ethan, which conversation? That there are perception problems that exist about the Forge? Or that Ron/the Forge is just a bunch of drooling, self-obsessed cultists?

Obviously, I think this "hubris" deal is -- sorry, Jason -- projection. Now, I don't mean you're externalizing your own insecurities, rather projection of perceived value judgements where there aren't any, so maybe "projection" is the wrong word.

Seems to me that any group that enjoys what it does, is slightly exclusionary in any fashion (and in this case, I note it isn't intentional, but a function of the depth and breadth of some of the material used as a basis for discussion), and has either a social element to it or rules of behavior to abide by gets labeled "elitist" and "exclusionary" and hence "EEEEEVIL." And that's nothing but projection ("oh, you have to do/know this to participate over there, so they think they're better than everyone else").

Now, I'm sorry, but some of my first posts on the Forge dealt with the idea of the Forge being steeped in confusing jargon layered thick with elitism, and that was way back when it first started! So...I don't see that anything's changed. I don't see that the Forge is suddenly collapsing in on itself and becoming tight-knit, xenophobic or egotistic.

That's exactly what was being said...what, three years ago?..and jeez, we're still here, we're still gaining new members like crazy. It obviously wasn't true then, and it isn't true now. It's just more of the same.

I'll stick to facts: when membership drops off, when newcomers are treated with contempt and verbally chased off, when it becomes the same ten people posting about the same old crap, and new ideas are pish-poshed without ever being discussed and the theory stagnates and goes nowhere, then I'll worry.

But since that isn't happening, I won't. And just because this topic ressurects itself every year, because every year someone claims the sky is falling, doesn't mean I'm going to start worrying about it and biting my nails.

So, yeah, let's talk about how the terminology is affecting the ability of posters to participate, and how we might better be able to immerse new participants in the local culture to facilitate clear discussion. Hubris? Xenophobia? Not even on the radar.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 11, 2004, 08:31:31 AM
Chad, in regards to my post in response to the thread in question, you'll find that this is a pretty isloated incident. Rather, I do this regularly, but not as a matter of course. And I'm not saying that I made a mistake or posted as I did by accident - quite the opposite. I'm saying that I reserve the use of "Asshole Mike" for special circumstances.

To be clear, the thread you were starting looked to me like it was going to be one of those that would quickly degenerate if it did not get a radical front-end alignment right off. You can disagree with my methods, but I think that it staved off most of the worst effects that could have come from the thread in question. It was a planned tactic on which you were incidentally impaled. I apollogize if it's put you off. You are a valued member of the community, and I hope that it doesn't affect your perceptions long term.

Yeah, I'm a large percentage of the posts here - 5% or so? So I have to watch myself. But, that said, I'm still just one individual. I am no more The Forge than Ron is The Forge than any one individial is The Forge. So, if anybody has a problem with my personal conduct, please bring it to me directly. I think you'll find that I'm really not so difficult to work with.

Oh, and I'm possessed of a big ego. I'm not sure I can change that. I do try to moderate myself there, but I am who I am, and I'm not leaving. So, again, if you have a problem with me, let me know. Do not project my behavior as everyone's behavior - I'm probably rather less polite than the average here. Which is another thing that I can't really apollogize for. Sometimes there's just not enough time for politeness.

I think this has all been just another ripple in the pond. Things haven't changed at all over time, and this, too, will pass.

Or is that just my Hubris showing?

Mike


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: ethan_greer on May 11, 2004, 08:33:45 AM
Quote from: greyorm
Sorry, Ethan, which conversation? That there are perception problems that exist about the Forge? Or that Ron/the Forge is just a bunch of drooling, self-obsessed cultists?

Both.  Talking about people's perception of the Forge (I question the use of the word "problems" here) isn't going to change anyone's perception of the Forge. Furthermore, whether we are or are not a bunch of Ron-fellating groupies, talking about it here isn't going to change anything either. I see no potential for productivity in this conversation.

Well, with the possible exception of people blowing off some steam. Which, as you and I have both observed, happens at approximately regular intervals. So maybe it is a necessary and healthy phenomenon.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: xiombarg on May 11, 2004, 08:39:07 AM
Quote from: ethan_greer
Well, with the possible exception of people blowing off some steam. Which, as you and I have both observed, happens at approximately regular intervals. So maybe it is a necessary and healthy phenomenon.

Well, as the person who initiated this thread, though it was in reaction to Jason's comments and the LJ conversation that spawned from it, I feel the main reason I started this thread has been achieved: To raise awareness of this issue and brianstorm ideas on how we can be more polite (which are sort of inter-related, really).

Just because we're "damned good" in the opinion of some doesn't mean we can't be better.

That doesn't mean, like Ethan, that I think this thread should stop now. I'm just explaining why I'm not contributing: I think everyone's making very salient points but I don't have much to add to what people have already said. But if people start feeling like Ethan does, y'all certainly have my blessing to close the thread.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Sean on May 11, 2004, 08:52:28 AM
I agree, Ethan, but I want to make one comment anyway.

To some degree, whether the Forge is what John Harper believes or what Jason Blair believes depends on the attitudes and dialogical style of the people who post here. We can make this site into a 'cult of Ron' (which I suspect would drive Ron to give up on the site sooner or later, actually) or we can make it into a thriving community in which games and game-related ideas are shared, debated, and tested. Unfortunately, these 'Forge Hubris' threads, and essays like the one in Jason's weblog, are likely to have the long-term effect of divisiveness, 'us-vs.-them'-ism, and so on, pushing the site in an insular direction. Which is why I think the best thing to do is just to follow Ethan's advice and not to feed the fire in cases such as these unless one can be concrete both about the particular issue that's causing frustration and the particular means one might take to fix it. Otherwise, let's just do the best we can talking about games and their design and theory (and I suppose the theory of their design).

To say that is not to avoid acknowledging the particular problems that sometimes come up here. Everyone agrees that there are problems - though by referring to them with sweeping terms like 'ego' (which everyone has, so it's a non-issue except in particular cases of bad behavior traceable to ego-conflict) and 'xenophobia' (specific examples? Jack Aidley sure got run out on a rail for violation of the One True Narrativist Way in Great Ork Gods. Of course, by iron logic, all the games people like here are the ones people here like...) one tends to compound the unhelpful idea that there's this 'one big problem' which has somehow to be fixed 'before it's too late'.

So let's fix the problems. Arguing about whether there is 'a problem' and its precise nature, though, is no way to get them fixed, but it is a way to break people into warring camps - which I don't think any of us should be interested in, even though that 'should' stands in opposition to a basic law of human nature, which is that we as a species like to cut things up and fight over the pieces. But we don't have to follow this law all the time - the exceptions are as certain as the pattern. Let's be exceptions.

And now I think I'm going to follow Ethan's advice and bow out.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: John Kim on May 11, 2004, 09:03:40 AM
Quote from: John Harper
  I'm not saying the Forge is perfect and inviolate and Thall Shalt Not Criticize. I'm saying that it's Really Damn Good, flaws and all. It could be better, but as a posting "member" of the Forge, making it better is my responsibility. John Kim is right. Nothing is accomplished by picking up your toys and going home.  

While I agree with this, making something better generally requires criticism.  Criticizing the Forge does not mean that one is no longer a member or an enemy of the Forge -- quite the opposite.  

There seems to be a lot of sentiment in this thread that Jason is doing something wrong by speaking his mind about tendencies at the Forge.  Jason is an independent game publisher and a long-time participant in the Forge.  He even speaks well about the Forge in the same post as his criticism.  I think he is doing the right thing -- and the Forge is better off having him than having those who only praise, or think that criticism has no place here.  

I agree with Jason's perception of The Forge as insular, and I've given specific suggestions for the site as well as made independent efforts (i.e. my theory glossary) to try to address that.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: greyorm on May 11, 2004, 09:15:05 AM
Quote from: John Kim
I agree with Jason's perception of The Forge as insular

Hey John, can we discuss that? Perhaps in another thread?
Mainly, I question your use of the word "insular" -- which I read to mean "self-absorbed" and "unwelcoming of outside influences/ideas."

But as I don't see that at all, given the steady increase in participating membership, I can't even begin to grasp what criteria you're basing it on, let alone understand the problem you're seeing.

Help me out!


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: chadu on May 11, 2004, 09:25:37 AM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
Chad, in regards to my post in response to the thread in question, you'll find that this is a pretty isloated incident. (snip)


Fair enough. I just wanted to illustrate the point that if an extreme/isolated incident is the first experience someone has of a community, it'll strongly shape their perceptions. I mean, this wasn't my first post at the Forge, and it's vehemence still took be aback. Granted, I was pretty clearly stepping into a bear-trap...

Quote from: Mike Holmes
So, again, if you have a problem with me, let me know. Do not project my behavior as everyone's behavior - I'm probably rather less polite than the average here. Which is another thing that I can't really apollogize for. Sometimes there's just not enough time for politeness.


I don't particularly have a problem with you, other than a mild stinging feeling from that first slap, which has been evaporating in the course of further discussions.

And I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree: there's always enough time for politeness. (Which is not to say one cannot be blunt or firm, mind.)

CU


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Dav on May 11, 2004, 09:43:43 AM
The Good Reverend Preacheth:
"Hey John, can we discuss that? Perhaps in another thread?
Mainly, I question your use of the word "insular" -- which I read to mean "self-absorbed" and "unwelcoming of outside influences/ideas."

But as I don't see that at all, given the steady increase in participating membership, I can't even begin to grasp what criteria you're basing it on, let alone understand the problem you're seeing."


And I respondeth:

An increase in membership has no correlation to outside influences or ideas.  Membership can increase all it wants, especially if the people newly joining are no influencing or bringing ideas of substansive worth to the group.  Which, at the Forge, I see as the case.

There is a point where everything here becomes so codified and locked down that it becomes impossible to bring forth influence, let alone a new idea.  And I feel that the Forge is a place that has found its own horrible inertia to move in *this* direction, rather than *that* direction, but no one ever bothered to see where that inertia would take it.  I see the Forge as an alternative d20... d20 is horrible, as people on the Forge should be aware, because System Does Matter.  A game should be designed on a premise, and mechanics created and instituted to further that premise and create a cloth of fine weave.  Not some dropped-in piece of shite.  Right?

But the Forge is the same way.  Design should be *this* way, present them on the boards as such, post this here, that there, and dear Dav, do NOT do this or this or this.  I feel like the theorists are trying to package creativity (or, as I said in the B-Day Forum "follow these instructions precisely to achieve maximum chaos").  

Take, as an example, the IGC-book.  Something simple and easy, and people keep cocking it all up with their minds and mouths.  How will it be seen?  How will I feel?  How does this shade of red go with this shade of green?  Is this indie (my personal favorite, and possibly, to my mind, the least intelligent question)?  OF COURSE IT'S FUCKING INDIE!  You own them, you keep them, and I want nothing to do with the leavings.  I'm just exercising my own contacts and such to make them printed... I don't care one way or the other.  I won't make you rich, I won't make you poor, I don't fucking care one way or the other about ANY of it.  I am a facilitator... not for profit, not for glory, not for any of it.  Just a favor.  It made me realize something....

The Forge talks a damn good game.

It talks and talks and talks.

A good chunk of these people have little idea what it takes to make a game go.  And I mean as a product.  Theorize all you want, but until you go through the trenches, it's only hot air.  If you want to prove you know about something, show me, don't tell me.

I think the Forge spends too much time resting on past accomplishments (especially by people who were not necessarily participating at the time of those accomplishments).  Sorcerer, Dust Devils, My Life With Master, Kill Puppies for Satan, Universalis.  All excellent, what have you done for me lately?  What's next?  What now?

The Forge can stick little labels on everything it sees, but that does not a designer make.

Dav

(and, to any and all wondering... THAT, my friends, is distilled and crystalized elitism.)


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Bankuei on May 11, 2004, 10:34:11 AM
Hi folks,

What a tangled thread we weave... Lots and lots of emotion flying about, etc.

What we're really asking here, is, "Does the Forge do what we want?" and "Does it do it in a fashion acceptable to us?"

Now, one, regarding new folks, we generally try to welcome folks and give them some time to adjust.  I think there is a history of fair effort here, and that is not in question.  

Regarding terminology, no one is required to know it, nor agree with it.  Personally, I never inundate new folks with jargon, but try to introduce a concept, jargon free, if it is pertinent.   There happen to be several essays and documents which folks can check out IF they are interested.  It took me over a year and a half before I even really cared what the hell GNS was about, and no one forced me to read it.

Second, the Forge is designed to be a place to promote discussion of independent games, design AND play.  As far as I can tell, the design forum is always bustling, and its so busy I rarely have time to check it out any more.  No where has anyone claimed that this site will do all the work for you, or even any of the work for you.  You're polling for opinions, though more focused and hopefully better educated ones than "U SUXX!".  :)  Getting it to print, whether in paper format or on the web, for big profit or free, is on you.  Again, at best, you're polling for experience and knowledge of those who have done it before.

Also, the Actual Play forum also seems to be doing pretty well also.  I see more posts there than on other sites with much, much, much higher numbers of folks.  

Finally, tangled in this mess is HOW do we do this?  A major part of this is personal interaction, and "playing nice".  So far, the only people who are given official status in regards to reprimanding people ARE Ron and Clinton, which some people don't like, trust, what have you.  And, as Ron said elsewhere, either you trust them, understanding that they're human too, and sometimes mistakes get made, or you don't.

In regards to the first two concerns, aside from calls for a glossary, I haven't seen any real suggestions or requests for things that would help the problems mentioned.  I think solid suggestions would be welcome and probably worth discussion.  In regards to the last concern, no one has convinced me that Ron and Clinton's "Iron Dictatorship" is driving people away in droves, though I'm open to hear examples.

Frankly, I don't see the fear of the dictatorship, because unlike many other communities or organizations in this world, the Forge does not hold your life in its hands.   The Forge does not have the authority nor ability to throw you in jail, cut your wages, nor ruin your reputation.  And, to date, no one has ever been banned nor had their posts deleted.  In other words, the Iron Dictatorship is rather soft and snuggly as far as I can see.

Overall, I think a lot of people:

A) Have concerns about negative perceptions of the Forge
B) Have concerns about future membership and community on the Forge
C) Have concerns about how to maintain a positive environment
D) Have concerns about how to have the Forge best do its intended goal(although folks may be fuzzy on what that goal is)
E) Have emotional issues with discussions on the Forge, ranging from impoliteness to not being able to drum up approval, or whatever, some being valid, some less so, and are now letting it out.

I suggest that folks take some time and analyze what their concerns are, in concrete terms, with concrete examples of the problems and try to come up with concrete suggestions.  Otherwise at this point we have a mixture of serious issues and a general bitch fest combined, which rarely results in productive action.

Chris


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: John Harper on May 11, 2004, 10:38:43 AM
Quote from: John Kim
While I agree with this, making something better generally requires criticism.  Criticizing the Forge does not mean that one is no longer a member or an enemy of the Forge -- quite the opposite.

I agree 100%. I didn't intend for my post to suggest otherwise. I don't think Jason is wrong to criticize the Forge. I just don't agree with his specific criticisms in this case. They're too vague and generalized, IMO. I suspect that Jason has a problem with specific people (or posts) at the Forge, and not some abstract, faceless Forge Entity. But I could be wrong.

Quote from: John Kim
I think he is doing the right thing -- and the Forge is better off having him than having those who only praise, or think that criticism has no place here.

Again, I agree. But even though I applaud those that speak their minds and raise a dissenting voice, that doesn't mean I have to accept everything they say at face value. I disagree with Jason's criticisms and am willing to discuss them. I certainly don't want *anyone* to ever go away and be quiet.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: John Harper on May 11, 2004, 11:15:35 AM
Quote from: Dav
I think the Forge spends too much time resting on past accomplishments (especially by people who were not necessarily participating at the time of those accomplishments).  Sorcerer, Dust Devils, My Life With Master, Kill Puppies for Satan, Universalis.  All excellent, what have you done for me lately?  What's next?  What now?

I realize your questions are rhetorical, but c'mon... this is too easy.

Sorcerer. Ron Edwards: Trollbabe, Elfs, and three original designs as part of the GNS essays.

Dust Devils. Matt Snyder: Daedalus, Nine Worlds, Dreamspire.

KPFS. Vincent Baker: Dogs in the Vineyard, Otherkind, The Nighttime Animals Save the World, Toward One, The Abductinators, The Good Knights, Chalk Outlines, Matchmaker.

Universalis. Ralph Mazza and Mike Holmes: Robots & Rapiers. Sorcerer in Space.

The only designer I don't know about is Paul Czege. If he's working on something new, I haven't heard. But resting on past accomplishments? Please. You're going to have to do a lot better than that to convince anyone that design has stalled around here.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Dav on May 11, 2004, 11:51:58 AM
John:

Ah, you are correct.  I need to be more specific (and, you are also right regarding the designs and designers in question... though, I figure I hardly need to point that out, facts are facts).  I mean: where is this influx of new blood designing kick-ass mortal-injury-bloodloss-bleeding-edge games?

I DO have incredibly high expectations and hopes for Jared and John's new project... though, as with any great street dealer, they have never failed to come through for me.  But, then again, they largely aren't with the Forge anymore.

I'm CRAZYGONUTZ with the general idea and design of Wyrd is Bond (and, I promise, it has nothing to do with Jason calling me the sexiest man in gaming... mostly).  Matt Snyder's new kid is wonderful (and not necessarily a game... well, making them is (and can even involve roleplaying!), but that's a different conversation.

All I'm saying (yeah... like I ever just come to the point...) is that I think at some point Actual Play and Theory kicked all hell out of Design.  Which, I suppose is not too confusing as to why.  It IS much easier to play and wane poetic than it is to knock the ideas together into a new shape.  

I realize that next time, rather than spewing games, I should have spewed designers (my bad... people are people too).  

I *intended* to reinforce my earlier comment in the reply about "more people does not equal new blood" (I'm paraphrasing myself).

And how 'BOUT that Vincent, anyway?!  Designing machine... just a few hundred more and Jared will have a contender for the crown!

Dav


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: greyorm on May 11, 2004, 02:29:31 PM
Quote from: Dav
I mean: where is this influx of new blood designing kick-ass mortal-injury-bloodloss-bleeding-edge games?

ORX, gawdamnit! READ THE SIG!
Don't make me rub your nose in it, Dav.

And Ninja Kitty, Samurai Dog, and DeadSpace, and the soon-to-be-renamed At the Dawn.

Yeah, I can't put out complete thirty-page tomes in a week like some of you keyboard-whores, so I beg patience, but I'm out here making games.

And dude, read the Indie Game Design forum sometime...there's tons of games in development right now by new members. Some of them might not float your boat, but hey, I see no reason to complain.

No, they may not all be "bleeding edge"...but frankly, what the hell is the bleeding edge of design NOW? Me, I'm just going to worry about making games I'd want to play, and let others worry about whether they're bleeding edge (ie: "hip enough").

Now back to the "new blood" bit -- it occurs to me that the new blood you're looking for, carrying unique and new and different perspectives, just might not exist, or may not have asserted itself yet. That is, what are we supposed to do...drag them here kicking and screaming?

Honestly, if these other paragons of design theory don't give a crap about adding to discussion at the Forge, preaching, expanding and testing their theories, why the hell should we care? If they're happy with their clique of readers and their groupies, there's not much that can be done.

We've got John Kim, I've asked Malcom for his perspective in comparing and contrasting theories he's familiar with, Larry Hols has a computer too old to deal with the PHPBB script of the forums (though he tried)...so, go yell at Malcolm, I guess. He's got other viewpoints, yet hasn't expressed them concretely yet, other than to say he's got them.

So, really, where are all these "new blood theorists"?
I mean, the Forge attracts designers and gamers who are apparently unsatisfied enough with the offerings elsewhere that they take to GNS, because it does something for them they haven't found elsewhere. That's not a bad thing.

Saying it is a bad thing because they aren't adding new data to the existing structure is simply not realistic. In any field, there are far more who accept and use theory than who test and advance it (and more than half of the latter are crackpots who do nothing to advance anything!).


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Valamir on May 11, 2004, 02:56:34 PM
Quote from: Dav
  It IS much easier to play and wane poetic than it is to knock the ideas together into a new shape.  

Dav


Shut the fuck up Dav.

As I recall you've got at least two articles you could be writing right now instead of spewing in this thread bein' all this n' that 'n shit.

Ralph,
dropping the hammer


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Dav on May 11, 2004, 03:03:04 PM
Ralph:

What's the second one?!  I've got one in mind, but seriously, what's the other one?

Dav
who was perhaps hit hard on the head by the hammer and has lost something


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Dav on May 11, 2004, 03:20:23 PM
The Good Rev decided to get all venial sin on it:
"ORX"
"What the hell is bleeding edge now"
(Notice how I paraphrase there but still use the quotes.)

And I get all absolving on it (use Palmolive, washes Souls clean!):

ORX: It will be owned as soon as it is ownable.  I will purchase all hell out of it, and you know it.

Bleeding Edge of Design now: to my mind, experimenting with the following aspects in game design:

1) character.  Not as in, more races, more classes, more whatever the fuck you d20 people use nowadays (and don't think I didn't see your d20 thread!).  Why an entity?  If single player ownership of of a certain aspect of a game must exist (defined, ultimately, as the PC), why a single entity or even one side of a conflict?  I am in the midst of having a game where each person is a particular emotion or impetus, and can take action with anything in a scene so long as that emotion or impetus has been introduced to the scene.  Or, playing a squad or army often leads to rather boring, hacking wood scenarios, rather than playing four or five specialists forming a squad, play with only a relationship map.  Lose the character entirely, no attributes, no skills, just a relationship map.

2) reward systems: when you get it, how you get it, and what specifically is awarded through a particular game.  Oh, and, when you use this reward currency.  In the end, a system of play is functional only so far as it gives a sense of recognizable development or accomplishment, most often associated with stat increases or similar actions ("leveling").  THere is tons to be mined from that.

Conflict resolution and character trait labeling and definitions were what we just went through back that way a bit.  FitM, DFK, and all the various resolution systems developed and studied are one thing, and can be used effectively.  I think that resolution mechanics and philosophy of player approach and designer approach are finished (GNS, GDS, what-have-you).  We know what they are and where they lie, even if we see constant argument over this tiny patch of ground here, or this game that seems to break some mold in some small aspect.  For the most part, it is completed.  

Now, let's move to new ways to approach character definition (not in some quote the Sociologist or find the Psychologist with the most divorces before suicide to plaster across the screen, but in the, the character would be defined this way, that is a new approach, and as you can see through this simple game design I made over here, it is easily highlighted and demonstrated through play in this manner) and reward systems.

That is the new bleeding edge (by the way, I largely just jumped over there and said, "THIS!" because you asked... but we did player vs GM vs why have either? and social contract BS and all that, so it seemed logical, and I recently had a nice discussion regarding both of these things).

You ask, and I giveth.

Dav


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: M. J. Young on May 11, 2004, 07:10:10 PM
I missed a day and came back to an explosion.

Well, I'm only going to comment on two thoughts here.
Quote from: John Kim
1) Move the official articles and reviews out of their own section, and instead have links to them and others as part of the Resource Library.  By having a list of links instead of requiring hosting at the Forge, the official Forge article list could be more diverse -- pointing to some of the excellent articles on the Oracle, RPGnet columns, and/or (ahem) my own RPG theory site.  As it stands, Ron is sole author of 38 out of 48 of the official works (27/30 reviews and 11/18 essays), as well as being the moderator and #1 most prolific poster of the boards (with nearly 9000 posts).
You speak as if there were some elitism involved in deciding what sort of things get posted in the articles and reviews sections here. Ron is undoubtedly the most prolific author here represented because this is his site; this is where he posts his articles. I've got one article here. It happens to be GNS-related. That's in part because I was trying to think of something that would be appropriate to what's here, and I had this idea for an article that would fit well here and not very well anywhere else. I've got a huge website with lots of my own material on it; very little of it is related to game theory. I have a weekly column at Gaming Outpost (still, going on three years), a monthly column at the Christian Gamers Guild (just past three years), and I'm published in a lot of other places--a couple articles at RPGnet, three at Places to Go People to Be, something at RoleplayingTips, and articles scattered all over. Probably I'll write another piece for this site sometime; it's not at the top of the list at the moment, as I've got a lot of other obligations.

More to the point, what does it take to write an article here? My understanding is that you have to write something with a coherent point, and that you have to be willing to consider constructive criticism before it goes to press. I submitted my idea to Ron and Clinton before I wrote, and they didn't seem too worried about whether it would be "good enough" or "right". I asked several Forge members whom I respect to give me feedback on the draft, and incorporated a number of the suggestions, but not all of them. It was published in the form I submitted. I'm sure if you, John, or probably anyone who has participated in this thread, decided to write a coherent article about some aspect of game theory or design, whatever stand it took, and submitted it for publication here, it would find its way into the articles section. There is no requirement that the article espouse official Forge theory or doctrine.

In this regard, I'll note that Erick Wujcik's artcle on "diceless" role playing games, in my opinion, fails to distinguish karma from drama resolution, a distinction made (by Jonathan Tweet, if I recall correctly) well before Ron incorporated it into System Does Matter, and that Erick's article seems to be preaching to the choir around here. Who among us really thinks that "diceless" resolution systems are a bad idea?

Chris Lehrich's article has very little to do with "official" theory here, either. A well-presented thesis is going to find a forum here if it is clearly related to role playing game theory or design. It just requires that someone submit one.

I'd wager that you don't submit articles here, John, because you're more comfortable putting them on your own site. I understand that. It's frustrating to be unable, for example, to tweak a link in an old article because you don't have access to it (a problem I have with articles on many sites). I would bet that just about anything you thought was worthy of inclusion on your site would pass muster here, if you chose to submit it here.

Now for the other item.
Quote from: Dav
An increase in membership has no correlation to outside influences or ideas. Membership can increase all it wants, especially if the people newly joining are no influencing or bringing ideas of substansive worth to the group. Which, at the Forge, I see as the case.
I'll agree that the majority of new people aren't contributing greatly to the ideas here. That's going to be so anywhere. However, there are still new people arriving who do so contribute. Chris Lehrich is fresh in my mind because of his article; but there have been several others involved with him in discussions of ritual and related ideas that have indeed expanded the concepts in consideration here. We've had an influx of strong thinkers from the Scandinavian areas; at the risk of offending someone, Eero leaps to mind as a solid contributor who has arrived probably well within the past year. The sheer numbers of new members joining daily makes it difficult to see this; it takes time for someone new to make an impression, and longer to make a significant contribution. Yet there are new people who are contributing, and often in unexpected new directions.

New people do provide ideas of substantive worth. It just takes a while to get there sometimes.

--M. J. Young


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Jack Aidley on May 12, 2004, 01:22:29 AM
Quote from: sean
To say that is not to avoid acknowledging the particular problems that sometimes come up here. Everyone agrees that there are problems - though by referring to them with sweeping terms like 'ego'... [snip] ...and 'xenophobia' (specific examples? Jack Aidley sure got run out on a rail for violation of the One True Narrativist Way in Great Ork Gods. Of course, by iron logic, all the games people like here are the ones people here like...)


What? I have no idea what you're talking about. Or was that a ironic point?


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Sean on May 12, 2004, 01:36:38 AM
Hi Jack -

Definitely ironic. My point was that a large number of forge regulars (including me, inasmuch as I'm regular) love Great Ork Gods, an innovative gamist design which involves a player-level currency which doesn't necessarily have that much in common with some of the core ideas seen in other popular games available at the Forge. So that seems to be a data point counting against the 'xenophobic' charge: new game, new ideas, new designer, very different from almost everything that's already here (though with perhaps a slight resemblance to certain aspects of Elfs).

I was being ironic in the birthday forum when I said that it turned out to be difficult to prove that an external world exists too.

Sorry to confuse. Keep up the great design work, man!

Sean


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Jack Aidley on May 12, 2004, 01:57:17 AM
Irony on the internet. Don't you just love it?

Sorry, Sean, normally my english nature saves me from such gaffs.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: Asrogoth on May 12, 2004, 07:03:33 AM
I stopped playing role-playing games back in high school (14 years ago).  I thought they were, ahem, "of the devil."  For about a year, I've come to an alternate conclusion -- that rpgs are simply tools for "play" and "entertainment", and you get out of them what you put in.

I started playing D&D online recently and have thoroughly enjoyed it. It was by some freak chance -- I did a search on Yahoo! when I was thinking about creating my "own" game -- and I ended up at the Forge.

Cool!  I thought.  So, I spent several months just lurking, trying to figure out what in the blazes everyone was talking about.  After a while, I felt comfortable enough to email Ron and let him know I was interested in debating my own game on the Forge.  He recommended some forums for me to look through and was very kind in assuring me of the willingness of the Forge community to listen to what I had to say -- even if they thought it was dung.

So... I came to the Forge, not as an already established rpg designer or anything to do with the industry.  Because of this, I think I was able to adopt to the jargon and ideas a bit "easier" than someone who has decidedly pre-conceived notions on how these things work.

I'm not trying to suggest I understand it all.  In fact my first post -- about
Lego games was a dubios "resurrection" post, and I was informed of my community "faux-pas".

I sugget then, that the Forge "hubris" is less serious than is made out.  The purpose of the Forge is for people to gather and talk about the games, about creating new ones, and to ACTUAL(ly) PLAY them.

The forums are not here to make people feel good about their own ideas.  Like any forum, we're here to talk about ideas, not people; therefore, the ideas may get slammed or praised -- but the people shouldn't become obsessed with how their ideas are receivd so much as the fact that the people here are listening.

Sure it takes a bit of a curve to learn the "jargon", but every forum I've been on has its own "specialized" jargon -- some more, some less -- and I've had to become accustomed to the usage of each one.  The Forge is no different.

Finally, if the Forge as a community is prideful of its ideas and work... so what?  The people on the Forge spend a lot of time thinking about their ideas.  They seem to do it to assist themselves in understanding the overall scope and the detailed minutiae of gaming.  No one has ever claimed that the ideas presented on the Forge are the Gospel of Gaming -- especially not that Ron is some sort of savior.

I don't know if I've contributed anything worthwhile, but I hope your understanding of my approach to the Forge might quiet some of your concerns.


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: xiombarg on May 12, 2004, 11:59:07 AM
I mentioned this in another thread, but I wanted to post it here depending on who is watching what thread, as I think it's relevant:

http://www.memecentral.com/L3Communication.htm

This is a communication model deliberately designed to allow people to disagree without getting heated. I think some of these tips, on either side, might have helped prevent the drama with Chris Pramas. Just a thought...


Title: Forge Hubris, Part II
Post by: greyorm on May 14, 2004, 11:31:27 AM
Quote from: Dav
ORX: It will be owned as soon as it is ownable.  I will purchase all hell out of it, and you know it.

Wawesome. Like "awesome," but with a whammy bar.
Quote
Bleeding Edge of Design now: 1) character.  Not as in, more races, more classes...but in the, the character would be defined this way, that is a new approach...2) reward systems: when you get it, how you get it, and what specifically is awarded through a particular game. Oh, and, when you use this reward currency.

Hrm, ok, interesting. I'll have to look and see what others might come up with in this venue. I don't have any particularly weighty ideas on either at the moment...except maybe, everytime someone plays my game, they send me a pizza. Now THAT'S reward currency! Support your designers!

Seriously, though, what are other rewards that could be given out in play, or other ways to reinforce the ones we already use? I can think of XP (and character development) and the social rewards of playing and interacting. What are more? (new thread?)
Quote
more whatever the fuck you d20 people use nowadays (and don't think I didn't see your d20 thread!).

I've been using chickens. But I'm glad you saw my d20 thread! You should also know I'm writing a d20 supplement!
Quote
In the end, a system of play is functional only so far as it gives a sense of recognizable development or accomplishment,

I agree! That's a great summary of ultimate system purpose, there. Thanks for verbalizing that (we'll call it "the Harnish Principle" or "Effect" or something).
Quote
You ask, and I giveth.

Cool. Does that work in other ways as well? Like, if I ask you for 100 grand, you giveth me 100 grand?