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General Forge Forums => Site Discussion => Topic started by: Adam Dray on May 11, 2004, 05:15:25 PM



Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Adam Dray on May 11, 2004, 05:15:25 PM
Chris Lehrich in this post (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?p=118891#118891) listed ten reasons why people might use jargon. I wanted to add another (and that thread is closing).

I think some people create new jargon to establish a legacy for themselves -- to make their mark on their society. It's another kind of hubris, really.

It's like the games that come up with yet another "clever" term for game master. If the new term actually adds color or otherwise improves the game, that's fine, but if the designer changes it without a system reason, it's to make a mark of some kind.

Do I think the members of the Forge are "guilty" of needlessly creating jargon to establish their own legacies (or even the legacy of the Forge itself)? I think yes, sometimes, but I give the forum's members more credit than that. By and large, I think we really just need terms to discuss things, and we enshrine the first useful term that arises for a concept.[/url]


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: clehrich on May 11, 2004, 08:38:26 PM
At the end of the same thread, Walt made the point that:
Quote
Angsting about jargon doesn't make any sense to me. I own a set of allen wrenches. They serve only one purpose I'm aware of, which is turning allen screws. I could probably think of hundreds of things I shouldn't do with allen wrenches, and enumerate a dramatic and impressive-looking list of them (sticking them in my eye, dropping them off tall buildings, heating them in the microwave...). Which would prove nothing, and certainly not convince me to throw the allen wrenches away.
While I agree with the general point, I do think that worrying a little about jargon is worthwhile.

I listed off a whole bunch of problems with jargon, and Adam has added another good one.  If we keep thinking about it, we'll come up with a considerable list.

None of these things makes jargon not useful.  But every one is something we ought constantly to bear in mind.  So long as we are very self-aware about our uses of jargon, we can use it precisely, effectively, and constructively.  But when we get slack about it, we start giving support to those who think the Forge is pseudo-intellectual, elitist, or exclusionary.

My own inclination, after these threads have run their course (along with sub-threads), is to write up a little article about jargon, its values and its dangers.  That way we'd have a kind of perpetual reference-point to remind us of what we should be wary of.

I'm not pointing fingers here.  Adam's point, about jargon as legacy, is a very apt one, and I think that in a thread about a year back I started to slide into this myself.  And I think most of the regular contributors to the GNS and RPG Theory forums have, at one time or another, slipped into one of the dangers we've already listed.

Does this mean we should stop using jargon?  Of course not.  But we should be perpetually on our guard against the tendency to use allen wrenches as awls.

One last point: what I do not think should happen is for people to police others' posts.  I'd hate to see someone saying, "No, you've fallen into Mystification, ha ha," which just transmutes a criticism of jargon use into another piece of jargon.  I like to think that Forgers are pretty self-aware folks, and thus if we periodically remind ourselves of what to watch out for, we will generally keep the level of discourse high.


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Rob Carriere on May 12, 2004, 12:28:33 AM
First, I agree with all the dangers of jargon listed. I've seen most of these in actual operation in multiple places. The Forge seems relatively clean, though.

Second, I want to add another use for jargon. It alerts a newcomer that there is a concept to be learned.

When I arrive at The Forge for the first time and read something like `to play narrativist D&D, you have to seriously drift.' I may not understand the sentence at all, but I immediately know that this is because I'm missing two concepts required for understanding and I know that these concepts are known under the labels `narrativist' and `drift' (and presumably grammatical variations thereof). Cool, now I can do a key word search. Without the jargon, I might still pick up that I'm missing concepts, but it is now much harder for me to go and find explanations. Even asking for an explanation is easier with jargon (`what does "drift" mean?')

So, I claim that, used properly, jargon can actually help newcomers.

SR
--


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Adam Dray on May 12, 2004, 05:57:25 AM
I agree with Rob. Jargon can be useful as a signal. Remember, though, when you read message after message and you barely understand a word printed, it is a barrier to entry.

Right now, we have the new glossary, which is a huge step towards educating people about the Big Model. We have the articles section.

We also have scads of discussions, but those are difficult to filter through. When someone says to a new poster, "we've discussed this before; go search the archives," it's very off-putting. With 400 MB of material, it's hard to know where to start. Even if you are good with a search tool, it's difficult to learn a concept that is changing and growing over time.

That is, a lot of the threads show the making of the sausage, not the finished sausage. When there are so many new concepts to learn, we don't need to confuse new people by inundating them with the history leading up to the ideas. Let's just present the ideas in their current state. There's more than enough material there to occupy the mind of a new visitor.


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Asrogoth on May 12, 2004, 07:11:11 AM
Adam,

You're very right with your sausage metaphor.  I think it is generally accepted that it often is difficult for "newbies" to understand the sausage by having to search out the sausage making process themselves.

As you stated, the glossary should alleviate much of this frustration.

In addition, I would suggest something to you, or to anyone truly interested in "streamlining" the way for new members of the Forge to engage in quality discussion.  Create your desired article or work that you think would be the most beneficial.  I am still working on my own "Streamlining Design" document to assist game designers.  Perhaps you have something in mind to assist with your concerns?

Just a thought.


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Emily Care on May 12, 2004, 07:20:40 AM
Quote from: Asrogoth
I am still working on my own "Streamlining Design" document to assist game designers.

I'd love to see this happen.  Jonathan Walton and Chris Lehrich are working on a guide presenting the big model theory to rpg players, a similar document (or documents) aimed at designers would be very helpful.  

Also, although it is all well and good to have this info available here, it might be useful, too, to send it out to more "mainstream" venues.  As may be your plan.  It'll be much easier to bring people into jargonville if they've had some exposure coming in.

Best,
Emily


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Adam Dray on May 12, 2004, 07:26:21 AM
I have often considered writing these articles myself, but I simply do not understand the model well enough -- and I've been a member for three years. I may just be particularly obtuse, or I may not put in as much time as others, but learning the ins and outs of the Big Model well enough to explain it to others isn't something that comes in a couple days of reading.

Not yet, anyway. I think with the right introductory materials, one could learn the basics in a day.


Title: Ayup
Post by: AnyaTheBlue on May 12, 2004, 09:31:20 AM
Quote
I think with the right introductory materials, one could learn the basics in a day.


I think this is a key point related not just to the jargon, but the whole GNS theory and it's attendent modifications and applications, not to mention the whole concept of 'Forge Hubris'.

For the most part, the Forge and it's discussions are opaque.  The jargon is used to clarify the topic, but the jargon itself is hard to learn, and it is very densely used here.  Possibly overused, in fact.

In my personal opinion, the jargon is actually harder to get a handle on than the concepts it is trying to shorthand for.  Ron's ASCII pseudo-zen diagrams for premise are an example of something that really isn't that hard to grasp conceptually, but which is kind of hard to get from the chosen jargon shorthand.  I'm not trying to pick on Ron specifically here, it's just a good example.

Discussion here seems primarily focussed on an academic pursuit of analysis and explication, and not so much on teaching and clarifying.  That may well be because what we have right now are largely academic theories clashing against one another, with little or no ultimate agreement on which is 'right' or 'best'.  The concern seems to be explaining the theories to other theoreticians, not necessarily to laymen.

To put this all another way, we have an awful lot of physicists, but not so many engineers, architects, or construction workers.

Anyway, I want to really thank Emily for broaching these topics over the past few days.  Her approach is one of thoughtful diplomacy, and I for one am grateful for it!


Title: Re: Ayup
Post by: Emily Care on May 12, 2004, 10:12:17 AM
Quote from: AnyaTheBlue
Discussion here seems primarily focussed on an academic pursuit of analysis and explication, and not so much on teaching and clarifying.  That may well be because what we have right now are largely academic theories clashing against one another, with little or no ultimate agreement on which is 'right' or 'best'.  The concern seems to be explaining the theories to other theoreticians, not necessarily to laymen.

To put this all another way, we have an awful lot of physicists, but not so many engineers, architects, or construction workers.


Teaching and clarifying. Yes! There's so much ground that has been covered, theory-wise, the logical next step is to bring it out to the world.
Or at least make it bloody comprehensible!

There may be some dire questions to be answered, but there are many things that don't need to be argued--just communicated.  And not in a talking-down kind of way.  Just simply, clearly and with respect.  

And to be clear, myself, I think the jargon is absolutely critical.  But we need to be bilingual if we want other people to understand us, much less care about what's being said here.  Along with the architects and construction workers, we need some translators!

Thanks muchly, Dana! :)
Yrs,
Emily Care


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 12, 2004, 11:36:21 AM
Translators to what? What coherent language exists out there to translate to? Note how often our jarogn is merely a clarification of some commonly used term in RPGs that's meaningless because of the multitudinous meanings that are applied to it by the gaming public at large.

We don't need translators, we need classrooms with students. I'm absolutely serious. You want to teach this stuff? It should be part of a college level curriculum.

Note that, for the "average" gamer, that I don't think there's any need for him to understand anything that's done at The Forge. That doesn't make what we do here impractical, it means that it either applies to designing, or we can apply it in fora like Actual Play translating as well as we do as we go.

Or, IOW, the problem doesn't exist.

Mike


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: AnyaTheBlue on May 12, 2004, 11:52:48 AM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
Translators to what? What coherent language exists out there to translate to?


Well, I personally would favor English, as it's the only language I speak fluently.  I could handle C or C++, for that matter, but I don't think they're quite as widely accessable (yes, I'm being sarcastic, but only a little -- I've had dreams in C)

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Note how often our jarogn is merely a clarification of some commonly used term in RPGs that's meaningless because of the multitudinous meanings that are applied to it by the gaming public at large.


Er, this is certainly not something that I've noted.  Most of the Jargon I've noted has been describing bits of the gaming universe that are invisible -- hidden assumptions.  By giving them names and labels, they become more prominent.  I personally feel they're still a bit more out of focus than they perhaps could be.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
We don't need translators, we need classrooms with students. I'm absolutely serious. You want to teach this stuff? It should be part of a college level curriculum.

Note that, for the "average" gamer, that I don't think there's any need for him to understand anything that's done at The Forge. That doesn't make what we do here impractical, it means that it either applies to designing, or we can apply it in fora like Actual Play translating as well as we do as we go.

Or, IOW, the problem doesn't exist.


Really, Mike -- is this kind of elitism necessary and desirable?  I experienced an awful lot of "Well, it was hard for me, so I'm going to make it hard for you" approaches in my dalliances with Grad School.  I didn't find that a very practical approach there, and I don't think it's useful here, either, for fairly similar reasons.

How do you know what an average gamer needs to understand?  What about gamers who want to understand?

Is it useful to make it harder to understand Forge discussions?  Why?

Or is it somehow harmful to make it easier to understand Forge discussions?  Why?

Just because some people don't perceive this issue doesn't make it imaginary.

I'm not sure that the caliber or tenor of discussion here really needs to change much.  I do think, however, that the Forge community would benefit from a more active attempt to mine and summarize the archived discussion here with an eye towards explaining what has already been covered, and what conclusions have been reached.  The current work on the Glossary is an excellent example of this kind of thing.


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Emily Care on May 12, 2004, 12:29:37 PM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
Note that, for the "average" gamer, that I don't think there's any need for him to understand anything that's done at The Forge. That doesn't make what we do here impractical, it means that it either applies to designing, or we can apply it in fora like Actual Play translating as well as we do as we go.

I don't see what's done here as impractical either.  Just losing potential audience by lacking easily understood presentation. (That's what I got out of some bits of the recent controversy, you may disagree)

Quote from: AnyatheBlue
How do you know what an average gamer needs to understand? What about gamers who want to understand?

I suspect Mike just meant that most gamers would choose to happily go about their business gaming and not deal with theory be it gns or what have you.  As long as they can get good games, and play and understand them, it's all good.  Not everyone has to be into theory.

But I disagree with Mike that there is not a problem.  I think simple attention to how we say what we mean is as important as what we mean (to paraphrase Dana) and will make a big difference in the long run.

There's lots of things happening to this end:

*The glossaries are welcome and long awaited.
*All the games people publish--and projects like the IGC sampler--contribute to giving folks a taste of different ways to do things.  *Various projects are underway to present basic topics in a comprehensive fashion.

These are good things.  The daily translation that happens in Indie-Games and Actual Play are good things too.  It's important work and is sort of the front lines for where theory hits practice.  (other than in play of games, of course)  And the more aware we are of whether we're actually communicating with people there, the better off we will be.

yrs,
Em

edited to add: Adam, apologies if this is a threadjack. Say the word.


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 12, 2004, 12:36:30 PM
You're putting a lot of words in my mouth, Dana. I have no problem in general with anyone wanting to make it easier to understand the concepts here. And I certainly have no desire to make them any more difficult to understand. I never said any such thing.

And how am I being elitist? I'm not saying that we should hide anything. Anybody who wants to come play in the pond is welcome to do so, and, in fact, is trained when they get here to get them up to speed as quickly as possible. Unfortunately we don't have classrooms, so the training is often quite rough.

But I'm serious about the classroom thing. I think this stuff should be in textbooks and taught to people. I think those textbooks should be as easy to understand as possible.


To make an analogy, would you expect doctors to create a "Medical Jargon to English" translation? To what end? They already are smart enough to do such translation when they think it's neccessary. And, really, what does it matter to the patient what the jargon means? As long as they understand in the end what they need to know?

Moreover, even if there was a way to "translate" that didn't end up being just dumping the definition of the term on the person, what good would it do? Sans an understanding of the rest of the terms, how does that make the person understand the overall concepts involved? It simply doesn't. Just laying out definitions is a good thing - I'm all for the Glossary. But as people are noting about it, it's not going to make all of the theory instantly accessible.

I completely agree about your "mining" concept. I think, however, that's a lot of what we do here every day.

Mike


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 12, 2004, 12:47:43 PM
Quote from: Emily Care
I suspect Mike just meant that most gamers would choose to happily go about their business gaming and not deal with theory be it gns or what have you.  As long as they can get good games, and play and understand them, it's all good.  Not everyone has to be into theory.
Precisely.

We don't disagreee, Em. But you'll note that the glossary was in the works long before any of this hubris hoo-ha started. As were most of the projects that you mention, and, of course, the "translation" that you mention that happens on the fora. I'm not saying we shouldn't do any of that. I'm saying it's already being done.

Hence, no problem. Basically, what I want to know is, if there's a problem, what can be done that's not already being done? Maybe if I see the solution, then I'll see the problem.

Mike


Title: Mr. Foot? Meet Mr. Mouth!
Post by: AnyaTheBlue on May 12, 2004, 12:51:26 PM
Mike,

Sorry, I wasn't trying to put words into your mouth -- I was taking my cue from what seemed a kind of dismissive tone in your previous post.   Saying that the pool is open to everybody, but there's no need to do anything other than we already are, that "there is no problem", feels at least a little elitist to me -- "I understood this stuff by jumping in, and if it's good enough for me, it's good enough for anybody else who wants to jump in."  Maybe that's not your point, but it still seems like one you are making, even in the post I'm responding to.

I agree with Emily -- I think there is an unnecessarily steep learning curve here at the Forge.   I think you are saying that while it might be steep, it's climbable, and therefore not worthy of, say, a bike-path or a set of steps.

I do agree that most gamers don't give a flying handshake (to paraphrase Buckaroo Banzai) about game design theory.  But some who aren't designers do, and I don't think they find a very comfortable home here at the Forge.  I don't see how that's good or useful to the long-term goals and health of the site.

As for a classroom -- I certainly think it belongs in a classroom about game theory and design.  As you say, we have a lack.  So why don't we do something else to help teach in lieu of these sadly scarce classrooms?

Sorry, again, for any offense -- I'm going to plead enormous stress, as I'm going through a fairly big life-changing event right now.  I think my core points, though, are still valid ones -- summarizing and introductory materials are good, and I think the Forge community could be doing a better job of it, and it would benefit everybody.


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Emily Care on May 12, 2004, 01:00:30 PM
Best to you, Dana. Hope your stress decreases.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
But I'm serious about the classroom thing. I think this stuff should be in textbooks and taught to people. I think those textbooks should be as easy to understand as possible.

Great idea. A Forge online tutorial would be the swank.

Quote
To make an analogy, would you expect doctors to create a "Medical Jargon to English" translation? To what end? They already are smart enough to do such translation when they think it's neccessary. And, really, what does it matter to the patient what the jargon means? As long as they understand in the end what they need to know?

It's more like we're talking to other doctors here. But think of translating for players in general as medical advocacy. The more easily accessible the info is, the less time doctors have to spend explaining things and can spend more time playing golf.

Quote
I'm not saying we shouldn't do any of that. I'm saying it's already being done.

Check. My take is that it's all timely, and needed. And may it continue.

Best,
Em


Title: Re: Mr. Foot? Meet Mr. Mouth!
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 12, 2004, 01:08:18 PM
No apollogies, I've been offending people left and right lately. Guess I'll have to start thinking about retirement or something to somewhere where crochety is more accepted.
Quote from: AnyaTheBlue
"I understood this stuff by jumping in, and if it's good enough for me, it's good enough for anybody else who wants to jump in."  Maybe that's not your point, but it still seems like one you are making, even in the post I'm responding to.
Ironically, I didn't have to learn most of this by "jumping in," I've been working on this suff since before there was a Forge. So, apparently my position must be that I've put in many, many years, and so too must others before they are worthy.

Which would be true if it weren't for the fact that I work constantly to try to help poeple get up to speed and accept them after, oh, about a day of work. But, then, we all have blind spots - maybe I'm missing something.

Quote
I agree with Emily -- I think there is an unnecessarily steep learning curve here at the Forge.   I think you are saying that while it might be steep, it's climbable, and therefore not worthy of, say, a bike-path or a set of steps.
No, I'm saying we build those steps every day. All while making more of a mountain of new theory to climb. Realize that, since the theory is never going to be "finished" that the process of making it more accessible is never going to end. Never.

I see the learning curve as a side effect of the quality of discourse, and something that's impossible to eliminate. Try as we might.

Quote
I don't see how that's good or useful to the long-term goals and health of the site.
Here we go again. The goals are to support publication of good Indie Games. What part of that is being harmed by the learning curve? Note that John Kim should rest easier knowing that I don't think that this means "as many indie games as possible." That's not a goal, AFAICT.

Quote
As for a classroom -- I certainly think it belongs in a classroom about game theory and design.  As you say, we have a lack.  So why don't we do something else to help teach in lieu of these sadly scarce classrooms?
I'm all ears? We write essays, we discuss with people here - I'm at a loss.

One of these days I'm going to get my classroom.

Quote
I think the Forge community could be doing a better job of it, and it would benefit everybody.
That's all well and good to say - but "The Forge" is you and me. I'd like to think that I'm doing my part in the trenches every day (and about seven other's). What are you doing?

Not to be offensive about it, but with any community, if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. Calling for others to do stuff and then waiting for it to happen doesn't get it done. At the very least, throw out an idea for what can be done that somebody else might pick up and run with.

Mike


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 12, 2004, 01:14:54 PM
Quote from: Emily Care
Quote from: Mike Holmes
But I'm serious about the classroom thing. I think this stuff should be in textbooks and taught to people. I think those textbooks should be as easy to understand as possible.

Great idea. A Forge online tutorial would be the swank.

No. That's already being done (Jonathan et al). That's not what I'm talking about. People will think I'm crazy, but:

I want a classroom. At a university somewhere. With students who come in and sit down and take notes. And who get a degree when they're done taking the course. A classroom.

Quote
It's more like we're talking to other doctors here. But think of translating for players in general as medical advocacy. The more easily accessible the info is, the less time doctors have to spend explaining things and can spend more time playing golf.
But follow up on your analogy - what is it that we do here that's parallel to advocacy?

Quote
Check. My take is that it's all timely, and needed. And may it continue.
Well, then, amen. I'm not sure where to go from here, however. See the post to Dana.

Mike


Title: Re: Mr. Foot? Meet Mr. Mouth!
Post by: AnyaTheBlue on May 12, 2004, 01:48:25 PM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
No apollogies, I've been offending people left and right lately. Guess I'll have to start thinking about retirement or something to somewhere where crochety is more accepted.


You may be crotchety, but you're loveable!

Perhaps there should be a Forge "Crotchety Old Fogey" forum.  I'd probably qualify, too! =)


Quote from: Mike Holmes

Realize that, since the theory is never going to be "finished" that the process of making it more accessible is never going to end. Never.


Er, well, at the risk of sounding irreverant:  "Well, Duh!"

Quote from: Mike Holmes
I see the learning curve as a side effect of the quality of discourse, and something that's impossible to eliminate. Try as we might.


This is a point that hadn't occured to me.  I don't think I agree, but I'll have to think on it.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Here we go again. The goals are to support publication of good Indie Games. What part of that is being harmed by the learning curve?


If this is the primary, sole, or overarching goal of The Forge, then I'm probably completely off base.  But the Forge should realize that many designers and players of potentially excellent Indie Games are finding it hard, impossible, or not worth their time and effort to get up the learning curve.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote from: Me
I think the Forge community could be doing a better job of it, and it would benefit everybody.

...
Not to be offensive about it, but with any community, if you want something done, you have to do it yourself. Calling for others to do stuff and then waiting for it to happen doesn't get it done. At the very least, throw out an idea for what can be done that somebody else might pick up and run with.


Man, you are crotchety today!  =) Fair enough.

 * Start a "forge newbie"/"introductory" forum

 * Somebody other than Ron should summarize and/or paraphrase and/or restate his GNS essays.  I started to do this about six months ago on my own initiative, but real life intruded and I never got very far.  Ideally, three or four different people should each do this independently, giving us a number of different approaches and perspectives.  Keep this up as new theories and essays are presented and refined.

 * Start a Glossary Wiki or FAQ-O-Matic, so that terms and definitions can be defined, refined, edited, and have useful and important annotations provided by a wide group of people -- many hands make light work.  Thankfully, the Glossary is already reaping the benefit of a so-called "thundering herd", but there's still a manual collation step being done at the end.  If you're unfamiliar with a Wiki, go look at The Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.com).

I'm sure I could think of some more with a bit more thought.  I'm unfortunately in the middle of the aforementioned Big Life Change and not really available to do any heavy lifting -- I'm far more a dilletante than I am a real member of the community, although I do enjoy the place immensely, and appreciate the fruits of everybody's labors.

I was mostly chiming in to support Emily's attempt to start discussion -- I agree with her that there is an issue.  I haven't any silver bullets, but I hope that a discussion will flush out some new ideas.  I'm not sure I have any good ones to add, however.


Title: Re: Mr. Foot? Meet Mr. Mouth!
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 12, 2004, 02:06:35 PM
Quote from: AnyaTheBlue
If this is the primary, sole, or overarching goal of The Forge, then I'm probably completely off base.  But the Forge should realize that many designers and players of potentially excellent Indie Games are finding it hard, impossible, or not worth their time and effort to get up the learning curve.
Well, again, I think that we lower the bar in actual play where I think they'd get the most use. But as to what the precise mission statement is, from the link at the top of the page labeled "About the Forge":
Quote
This site is dedicated to the promotion, creation, and review of independent role-playing games.
I didn't write it. Take it up with Ron. :-)

Quote from: Mike Holmes
* Start a "forge newbie"/"introductory" forum
Proposed many times. Always shot down. Check other threads in this forum about it.

Quote
* Somebody other than Ron should summarize and/or paraphrase and/or restate his GNS essays.
Already done. See MJ's article Applied Theory in the articles link above.

Quote
* Start a Glossary Wiki or FAQ-O-Matic, so that terms and definitions can be defined, refined, edited, and have useful and important annotations provided by a wide group of people -- many hands make light work.
Proposed and shot down. Again do a search in this forum for reasons. I'm a big Wiki fan, and play Uni by Wiki. But you'll have to convince Ron.

Like I said, this isn't something new, we've been working on it forever. Hmm. Maybe what we need is a status report page for projects so that people can see what is being done, and volunteer to help out?

Quote
I'm unfortunately in the middle of the aforementioned Big Life Change and not really available to do any heavy lifting
No big deal. Remember, I'm the person who thinks that the problem is already being addressed.

But if you do come up with something, let us know.

Mike


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Adam Dray on May 12, 2004, 02:09:33 PM
These discussions are pretty far off topic (using jargon to establish a legacy with one's name on it).  I've started a Forge pedagogy (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=11190) thread to continue discussion about teaching methods and goals.


Title: Re: Mr. Foot? Meet Mr. Mouth!
Post by: M. J. Young on May 12, 2004, 07:46:54 PM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote from: AnyaTheBlue
* Somebody other than Ron should summarize and/or paraphrase and/or restate his GNS essays.
Already done. See MJ's article Applied Theory in the articles link above.

Thanks for pointing to that. Although that's not the purpose of that article, I think it does much to clarify the concepts.

The theory expounded here does get expressed elsewhere in drips and drabs, reaching the gaming community generally through the efforts of those here. I'm recalling that roughly three months back one of my Game Ideas Unlimited articles got very positive responses when it dealt with Credibility, Authority, the Shared Imaginary Space, and the Lumpley Principle, all quite directly in a context of "here is some of what is in the forefront of theory, attempting to understand what it is we are doing in our games and how we might do it differently". A couple months before that I was writing about adjusting the challenge level within a game, and there was a certain amount of theory brought forward in that. The column is not strictly a theory column--it is intentionally set up to be different every week--but it returns to theory frequently, and its readers appreciate the concepts presented when it does.

I doubt I'm the only one who does that. I know that Seth Ben-Ezra has been influenced by the theory discussions here and tried to talk about them elsewhere, and I'd wager there are a number of people doing so in articles on other sites, one way or another.

Beyond that, there are frequently threads here from people trying to explain what they've learned here to their own gaming groups. Sometimes they have success, sometimes they have problems. We hear more of the problems--but then, do we expect to hear of the successes? I explain RPG theory to my kids all the time; they get it. I don't mention that here, usually, because I'm not looking for advice on how to do it.

So I'd bet we're having more impact than we think. Sure, the R&D department at Microsoft are a bunch of geeks, and no one understands a word they say to each other--but they've impacted quite a few people because of those discussions. I suspect most of us would take a bit of time to get up to speed if we attempted to get involved at the Rand Corporation or other think tanks, but the people who work there have influenced the world without us understanding what they said. There is a strong think tank aspect here. The ideas do get out to the people outside.

--M. J. Young


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 13, 2004, 08:43:58 AM
Quote
So I'd bet we're having more impact than we think.
Actually, I think that we have more impact that I think most people think we do. So maybe we're all thinking that? ;-)

In any case, again, I'm personally only concerned that those who come here looking for help, get it. As such, your article is precisely what the doctor ordered, I think.

Mike


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: matthijs on May 13, 2004, 09:26:50 AM
Wrt the impact of the Forge: It's certainly reaching Norway. Several of the most active game designers here are, at least, relating to GNS / Big Model, though not necessarily accepting it as gospel. I'm one of those designers, and reading / posting here has certainly changed my way of thinking. (But then, so has the whole process of writing a game).

Wrt classrooms: What about having seminars at cons? Of course, that'd be nothing like a whole semester at a university, but a whole day of Forge theory lectures and Q&A sessions would definitely help a lot of people get into the concepts.


Title: Jargon and legacy
Post by: Mike Holmes on May 13, 2004, 11:20:12 AM
Seminars have been discussed. I'll have to think about putting one together for some con, myself. Of course, anyone else who wants to do so should probably be encouraged. Lots of seminar topics. General Indie Publishing. Theory Seminars. Technique Seminars. Hmmm.

Mike