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General Forge Forums => Site Discussion => Topic started by: Ron Edwards on March 12, 2003, 01:29:29 PM



Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 12, 2003, 01:29:29 PM
Hello,

Today, I moderated a thread in the Indie Design forum, EU States: Writers Block (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=5534), which has turned into a difficult moderation problem.

I don't plan to lock the thread.

I don't plan to engage in public debate about my moderating, under any circumstances. Long ago, Clinton and I decided that the Forge isn't a democracy or consensus-run site.

I've already received private message about that thread (before arkcure replied) suggesting I've been too heavy-handed, and I welcome that - and listen to it. Even if it's not a democracy, the voice of the "Forge body politic" is important to me. I'll take it into account from now on.

I am not favorably inclined toward open defiance, however, which is what's happened on the thread. During the private exchange (not with arkcure; there's been none), I asked for some suggestions, and here's what one person said:

Quote
I recommend a Site Discussion thread, which a link to should be posted in the original thread. Posts to definitely make are:

a) How to actually post about a topic like his. For example, here's what I might have written:

"I have a game I'm working on - called EU States - and I've managed to flesh out the background and setting well. (include major bits of setting here). However, I find that when it comes to making my mechanics, I draw a blank and nothing seems to fit. Has anyone else had this happen with a game, and what did you do to move past it?"

That's a well-formed post. His original one wasn't.

b) The second point: his defensive attitude has absolutely no place here. Defensiveness is just asking to be hurt and to start a fight. I would tell him, with all seriousness, that his attitude or he needs to go away, his choice.


So, here's (a). If anyone wants to suggest general recommendations for moderating off-topic or "what do you think" posts, let me know. If anyone wants to pose alternate and better ways to moderate arkcure's thread, please do so.

[However, again, "Yeah Ron, you're such a meanie," posts aren't solicited. Private-message me if you think so.]

While (b) is harsher than I'd like to be (considering that I've already been pretty harsh and don't want to extend that further), I will re-state it as, "

- Don't debate moderation on this site.
- Do voice your objections to me privately. I have been known to retract moderation when convinced - but not based on public challenge.

Best,
Ron


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: xiombarg on March 12, 2003, 01:44:21 PM
In general, I think "A and B" is the way to go. That is, show how the original post COULD be validly phrased, but then follow up -- if recieving this style of open defiance -- with your re-phrased version of B.

The second part of your re-phrased version of B should probably go on a policy statement somewhere on the site. (If it's already there, I apologize...)


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Mike Holmes on March 12, 2003, 02:57:56 PM
I know the fora are marked with the names of the moderators, but it might help if you were to change your tag from "Adept Press" to "Moderator". That might not have helped with the current problem, but it may have with that last one.

As for how to get people to understand the policies, I don't know that there's a good way.

I know it's probably a hassle, but instead of denying the validity of the post in cases like this, it seems to me that suggesting how to fix the thread direction so it is appropriate would be the most effective policy. And actually I know that's how you guys handle many posts. And I understand that it's a lot of effort. But it would have been worthwhile in this case.

This all said, arkcure took your terse post a bit too personally is all.

As always the solution seems the same: write more carefully, read more carefully. That said, in reading more carefully, people should remember that posters are imperfect (Lord knows imperfect doesn't cover my behavior), and should try to communicate about the subject first before getting steamed. And remember that heated responses sometimes happen.

I mean big deal, one little blow up. It's not like we're some internet fora where this would simply be an example of daily attempts at communication.

Mike


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Paganini on March 12, 2003, 03:00:29 PM
Ron:

A couple of general things that this situation brings to mind.

In any electronic community where regular "get to know each other" there's going to be a certain desire for interraction beyond the scope of the forum's stated topic. The Forge has a surprising low level of such discussion, mostly due to the careful moderation practiced by you and Clinton. (This might not seem to bear on the current situation. Stick with me. :)

I'm not so sure that this lack is actually a good thing, though. The desire to discuss something with people you like and respect is perfectly natural. I'm not talking about private discussion, I'm talking about group discourse. There's a lot of overlapping interest here at the Forge, but the Forge forums are extremely specific.

I agree that arkcure's post was poorly located. The Indie-design forum is for designing games. But - and this is the bad thing, IMO - it doesn't really fit in any of the other forums either. This is a problem, because I think that his post is certainly a valid topic for Forge discussion. It wasn't that long ago that I posted a "Where do you get your ideas?" thread to Indie Design. It wasn't a very appropriate thread for that forum, but it sure is a valid discussion topic. I think anyway.

And what about related genres, like the CYOA adventure idea I was discussing a while back? What if I want to discuss my space combat game in progress? These are not on topic for any Forge forum now, but I feel that a desire to discuss them with Forge denizens is reasonable, and should even be expected.

A possible solution to this is the addition of some sort of General Discussion forum. I don't mean a high-volume OT chatter forum; rather I'm thinking of a place to post more general discussions (hah). Things that might be *related* to game design, but don't specifically deal with games in progress or design theory. A place where arkcure could ask about writer's block with impunity. A place where I could ask about inspirations. A place where we could talk about that adventure board-game with all the cool art (can't recall the name) that's supposed to be released Any Day Now. A place where we could talk about literary concepts in gaming . . . "Show Don't Tell," for example.

If the feeling is that another forum would be too much extra of a moderation burden, what about combining GNS discussion and RPG theory into one forum? I've never quite understood why we need one place to talk about Director Stance, but another place to talk about Simulationism. As far as I'm concerned, it's all GNS.

What does everyone else think about this?


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: iago on March 12, 2003, 03:18:47 PM
Quote from: Paganini
What does everyone else think about this?


I'm strongly in favor of more fora with a continued strict enforcement of posts being "on topic" to the forum they're posted in.

All the same, I'm not sure that I buy that the existing fora don't have a home for this particular topic.  There was a "general discussion" one, last I checked, no?

Edit: Aha, my bad. That's just what I think of the "RPG Theory" one as.  Maybe a more explicitly general or misc topic is in order...


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: lumpley on March 12, 2003, 04:29:39 PM
I don't think that the Forge should have a social forum.  The rigorous focus around here is like my favorite part.  Maybe a sister Yahoo group to Indie Netgaming, though, for people who want to just hang?

-Vincent


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: clehrich on March 12, 2003, 04:32:27 PM
I agree with Vincent that we don't need a social forum.  But the thread in question really wasn't that, and there ought to be a space for it.  I see RPG writer support as an important part of the Forge.  Perhaps the Publishing forum might expand to cover straight writing issues?  I recall there was a discussion of grammar and punctuation there; why not other writing issues?


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: lumpley on March 12, 2003, 04:43:29 PM
Chris, you're right.  

So Ron, can I ask?  Is writer's block, or finding the time or discipline to write, or "help me make this paragraph work!" not Forge appropriate, in general?  Or was it a problem with that thread in particular?

-Vincent


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Bankuei on March 12, 2003, 05:34:26 PM
I think the major point about posting design, or any other issue is this:

-Post a directed and focused question/issue for discussion in regards to the forum in which its posted

To add a little more info on that, I think Ron puts it best in the Stickies at the top of the design thread...

Quote
....you should have a clear coherent idea of what your game is about and where you want to go with it. If you cannot answer the question, "What is my game about?" do not start a thread.


The key component here is focus, and the Forge's focus is in regards to games.  While arkcure is correct that being unable to communicate one's ideas will have problems in creating a game, being unable to do math, or motivate oneself, lacking money to maintain a website, or having personal issues with friends or family also can affect one's design, but I doubt many people here would consider those valid posting topics.

What is the key difference as far as this goes, is that most of the information is available elsewhere, as well as discussion boards.  Creative block is addressed by many writing, painting, and music groups.  There's also a lot of issues that no amount of discussion will assist...  "I have low self-esteem!", "I'm broke!", etc.  The most people can say is, "Well, I feel for you, but that's up to you to handle..."

For folks who are dealing with related issues, I'd say the best stuff to do is to post up links in Publishing.  A link to a good site on probability, technical writing, layout, artwork costs/creation, etc. would all be good for sharing information that people can use, without cluttering up too much space.

The main thrust here is that unfocused topics spin out going nowhere...Hell, that's half of my posted topics right there...and I try to take time to narrow down ideas, questions or concepts as much as possible before putting it up.
Again, look at Ron's quote, if you know what you want, people can offer suggestions, but no one, and no one, can ever help you if you don't know what you're aiming for.

Chris


Title: Ron you meanie
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on March 12, 2003, 10:27:55 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
If anyone wants to suggest general recommendations for moderating off-topic or "what do you think" posts, let me know. If anyone wants to pose alternate and better ways to moderate arkcure's thread, please do so.


OK Ron, consider this. You're a teacher, right. Perfect, actually. Let's say you screwed up somehow at your job. Exactly how isn't important. You're in the middle of a class full of students and you're boss comes in and dresses you down in front of them. Just chews you out in front of your students. Now imagine that instead of that, your boss pulls you aside, perhaps into his office to discuss the problem.

This is the thing. To be rebuked in front of others, peers or subordinates,  causes one to lose face. A natural response is to this is to become defensive, to try to regain some or to save what little face you've got.

My suggestion, that is if you don't do this already, is to privately message the person before posting your moderator's post to the forum. This will mean slower moderator action in some cases, but it will lessen the blow to some member, especially new ones because they won't feel like they'd been yelled at in front of everybody.

The exact method of this, we can leave to your own discretion. Perhaps a time limit thing or the private message placates the person so that the know it's no harm no foul nothing personal...and here are the posting guidelines. That kind of thing.


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: xiombarg on March 13, 2003, 05:25:14 AM
At the risk of a "me too" post, I think Jack's suggestion is excellent. I have to admit the first time one of my own threads was moderated by Ron in this fashion, I was very taken aback, tho I didn't become too defensive... I think.

On the other hand, if you don't make a public post the thread can and will meanander uncontrolled. There's usually more people involved in a thread like that than the author.


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: ethan_greer on March 13, 2003, 06:26:36 AM
I have a few opinionated observations:

I am 100 percent behind point B.  I would recommend sending a gently-worded but firm PM to Arkcure.  Basically, Arkcure's post was a flame, and those are a strict no-no around these parts.

Were I Ron, I would have worded the moderation a bit differently, and left out the "nice and all" part, which is what I think really set Arkcure off.  That said, I am 100 percent behind the moderating of that particular thread.  It was unfocused and way too general to be in Indie Design.

In moderating future similar threads, it might be better to post a message that attempts to push the discussion in a more appropriate direction rather than simply attempting to put a stop to it.  If that suggestive post doesn't do the trick, the harsher "cut it out, guys" post becomes more appropriate, and less sudden for the person whose thread is being moderated.

The Forge should not have a social forum.  For those who want to socialize outside of the Forge's area of discussion, there's a place for email address in the user profile.

Ron should change his tag to indicate he is a moderator of the Forge.

All IMO, of course...


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 13, 2003, 06:37:22 AM
Hello,

Many thanks to everyone so far, here as well as the private messages. I'm reading and thinking.

Best,
Ron


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Paganini on March 13, 2003, 08:40:23 AM
Quote from: ethan_greer
I am 100 percent behind point B. I would recommend sending a gently-worded but firm PM to Arkcure. Basically, Arkcure's post was a flame, and those are a strict no-no around these parts.


Lying @$$hole! Why must u keep on making these unfounded character attacks on arkcure? (It's a small 'a' you moron!) Why dont u take your ignorant opinions over to RPG.net? You should fit rite in! Your trolling is ruining the forums for EVERYONE!

(See the difference? See why the Forge is a great place? ;)

The idea that arkcure's post could be seen as a flame is just mindboggling to anyone who's ever spent time on usenet.

Quote

The Forge should not have a social forum.  For those who want to socialize outside of the Forge's area of discussion, there's a place for email address in the user profile.


Please understand, that's not what I'm proposing. I specifically said "not a high volume OT chatter form." Arkcure's post was hardly "social" in nature. (I.e., "Duuude! You should a' seen the size of the beer I had last night!") It was a general issue that's certainly relevant to RPG-writers, if not specificaly to RPG design or theory. I feel that it has a place here on the Forge, and there should be a place to put it.

You know, Ron didn't smack down my "inspiration" thread from last year. He easily could have though. It didn't have any more to do with RPG theory than arkcure's post had to do wiht RPG design.

So there's that element also. What general topics are acceptable, since they're always going to be OT for whatever forum one posts them too?


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: ethan_greer on March 13, 2003, 09:19:23 AM
Paganini,

Heh!  Granted, my standards are pretty high, and I don't spend a lot of time on any message boards, so I guess I slap the "Flame" label on things pretty easily...

Regarding the social forum issue: I can see what you're saying, but I disagree that your inspiration post was as OT in RPG Theory as Arkcure's writers block post was in Indie Design.  On the other hand, Arkcure's post could probably/maybe have gone unmoderated in RPG Theory...?  For the most part, I think we are in agreement on the issue - I do recognize the validity of Arkcure's thread as it concerns RPGs.

I just see a "General Discussion" or some such forum being a slippery slope, a moderator time-hog, and far too nebulous to provide good guidelines for what threads are OT or not.  Which is why I cast my vote for no social forum.  The RPG Theory board is, I think, as much a "catch-all" board as the Forge needs.


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Piratecat on March 13, 2003, 10:02:21 AM
While a new member, I agree that a General Discussion Board isn't what the Forge needs. There are plenty of other sites that serve that purpose. A GD board builds community, but tends to dramatically increase the ratio of chaff to wheat.

That being said, I believe that the relatively strict moderation on threads such as arkcure's cuts down significantly on the creative brainstorming process. I could easily see that thread having become a useful discussion of methods for reawakening creativity when stalled; instead, it's stopped dead in its tracks. That's not necessarily a bad thing if you want to stick to a more strict "ask a question, get an answer" approach (as I believe the Forge does), but it does eliminate potentially useful exchanges before they reach the stage where they actually have value to most people. Even if the original question is not necessarily perfectly phrased, I'm not sure that entirely mitigates the value of the subject being discussed.

On another thread on this forum, the question of why there are so many low-post members is posed. I'd posit that reluctance of getting rebuked for not meeting fairly nebuslous posting criteria is one of those reasons. Mind you, I know that one develops a feel for "appropriate" threads when one has posted here for some time, but even after reading the various FAQs it's quite difficult for new members to know the moderators' requirements. I know that I would have assumed that discussing "writer's block in game design" was a valid topic, as well.

I'd also like to add my request for the Admins to please consider labelling their position in their Titles, perhaps underneath the company name. This tripped me up the other day.

Many thanks,


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on March 13, 2003, 10:04:25 AM
On the topic of a general discussion forum, I would like to point out the recent trouble over the Tangency forum on RPGnet. The idea of a "not hi-volume OT chatter" just won't work. Tangency was originally meant to take all the off-topic posts from Open so that you didn't have to wade through a bunch of threads anout movies or books or whatever to get to gaming discussion. But given a place to discuss non-gaming interests, the members have done so and it's grown from being a small forum to catch the occasional off-topic post to a jiggling, thriving community.

But you're not talking about something on the order of Tangency. That is, the topics will be more tangelical, for lack of a better word. They would relate more to the creation of RPGs than posts of pictures of your kitties.

Personally, I think that a general discussion forum would just make more work for the moderators than it would contribute to the level of discussion we've come to expect from the Forge. But that's my opinion.


Title: Re: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on March 13, 2003, 10:12:07 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
- Do voice your objections to me privately. I have been known to retract moderation when convinced - but not based on public challenge.

I just noticed this part of Ron's original post. It seems to back up my original reply to this thread.


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Clay on March 13, 2003, 10:31:45 AM
Probably this has gone on too long already.  But, here's my take:

The strength of The Forge is focused, on-topic discussion. The moderation techniques used weren't optimal, and some good alternatives have been suggested.  I also think that Ron was caught in a moment when he wasn't at his peak; his post wasn't as good at guiding the discussion as they normally are.  The thing to do is probably move on and make a point of -not- responding to the flame-bait that was posted in response to the moderation.


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Tar Markvar on March 13, 2003, 03:18:44 PM
Perhaps a "Writer's Experience" or similar forum would do the trick?

For what it's worth, I also agree with the idea of using PMs for this type of moderation. For someone new to the site, it's easy to take that sort of terse response personally, and that sort of comment is easier to take in private than in public, especially when it accompanies the closing of a thread which, while it was decidedly off-topic, still contained discussion that would have been helpful to a number of RPG writers.

Thanks,

Tar


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Mytholder on March 19, 2003, 04:32:29 AM
Speaking as an rpg.net mod - social forums are hell. Tangency generates an awful lot of headaches.


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 19, 2003, 01:33:43 PM
Back from GAMA!

Thanks to everyone who's posted. Here are some quick points.

1. I think it's probably fair to say that the Forge isn't going to have a General or Tangency type forum of any kind.

2. Certain topics set up red flags for me in terms of writing and publishing. When someone says, "How can I manage my day job and my publishing better," I consider it a valid Publishing topic. When someone says, "I can't seem to write," I don't. These and related issues about what is or isn't on-topic are not always easy to lay out ahead of time, or rather, they can't be laid out ahead of time in many cases.

Kevin (Piratecat) and Nathan (Paganini), I definitely see your point. I think the only solution is a certain amount of adjustment on everyone's part is definitely an ongoing thing at the Forge, me included.

I'll be happy to discuss this more later (back from GAMA, as I say; time is tight for the next few days). For now, I think that links to writing sites would be a good alternative - we can just point to the link when things like that come up.

Best,
Ron


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Andy Kitkowski on March 19, 2003, 03:42:06 PM
Sorry to say "me too", but I agree with just about everyone who posted here. I'd even suggest that Ron reread all the comments, even, because they really are excellent suggestions and discussions, all. :)

Having said that, though, I must say I am in favor of a New Forum.  Again, no one here is saying "General" or "Social", but many people realize that there are topics, or round pegs, that they have that just don't fit in the current square holes. Questions that would otherwise be considered "focused", if only they had their own Indie Forum of Focus.

My own examples are those Indie RPG Awards posts I started.  Each time I started a major post on that topic, I went to the forum index, and spent (No Lie) at least 5 minutes debating in my head, each time, where such a topic should go.  Nothing matched.  So I just narrowed it down to Which Topics it Has Nothing to Do With, and dumped them into one of the two to three others, almost at random.

So call me in favor of a new forum. Just don't call it general or social. Maybe some thought as to the direction of the new forum?  Maybe we can have a forum with a new field of vision other than "Everything Else", "General Indie Gaming", or "Tangents".

Or maybe redescribe one of the existing forums: "RPG Theory" could easily become "Indie RPG Issues", and that title not only again supports theory-talk, but practical-talk as well...

As an aside, Ron might not think much of this suggestion because it again would allow threads to exist by the user whose thread started all this. But again, with the redescription/restatement of his question into a more "on topic" format, I think such a question (again, directed and restated) is on topic for a lot of us. It just needs a forum to be "on topic" in. :)

-Andy


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on March 19, 2003, 04:18:09 PM
Andy,

Hard question time, because I, as admin, tire of this New Forum talk.

What's missing? Seriously, what actual category of discussion is lacking here? Answer that, and the forum will be considered. I can't think of one, even the thread that started this thread. (Stated well, it'd fall into Indie Game Design.)


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Paganini on March 19, 2003, 04:35:16 PM
Clinton,

That's a tad hard on Andy, since it was actually I who proposed adding or altering a forum.

The discussion that I see lacking a place here is two-fold. On the one hand are specific personal issues that are not related to the design process of a specific game. Discussions about inspirational material, discussions about grammar, discussions about writing technique, and so on, don't really fit into any of the current boards.

On the other hand, there's no real place to discuss general industry concerns, like Andy's RPG awards. For example, last week Greg Costikyan had an extremely relevant and somewhat controversial blog up on his website that would have seen some great discussion here. But I didn't feel that there was any forum appropriate to posting a link in. Not Publishing, because Publishing is for specific publishing concerns, the way Indie Design is for specific game concerns. RPG-Theory? GNS Discussion? Connections? Obviously not. Where then?

As for a name for the forum, I suggest Indie RPG Concerns (or maybe Indie RPG Issues). Obviously, these are *not* OT chat forums. They're for topics related to Indie RPGs that don't fit into the specific scope of any of the other forums.


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Valamir on March 19, 2003, 06:04:58 PM
Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing an "Industry" forum, where threads like Ron's GAMA posts, plans for Forge con presence, discussions on distributor relations, indie advocacy in game stores, etc could find a home.

But then I'm a hierarchal kind of guy.  My PC has dozens of folders within folders within folders so that everything has its place.  Even my Favorites list is 3 or 4 layers deep...so I like having more categories rather than fewer.


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Andy Kitkowski on March 19, 2003, 06:30:00 PM
Quote from: Paganini
That's a tad hard on Andy...


Not at all- Just a hard question: Since some people see something, and others don't, it's a good call to be as specific as possible. I couldn't at the time, too (save for the "forum name change" idea).

Quote from: Valamir
Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing an "Industry" forum, where threads like Ron's GAMA posts, plans for Forge con presence, discussions on distributor relations, indie advocacy in game stores, etc could find a home.


Actually, on further thought, this is exactly the kind of thing I was aiming for. GAMA/GenCon/Con posts, advocacy, issues related to the industry as a whole (and advocacy, which we spend a lot of time talking about) would probably fit nicely into such a category.  They don't seem to easily fit well into one of the other main topics as they are currently described (unless you went to advocate a particular game, like TROS, at which point it would fit in that game's designers' forum).

All in all, I wouldn't lose any sleep, put down as "ineffective", or rebel or even speak out if such an option were put down here by Clinton and Ron. It just seems like something worth trying out, even just as an experiment: Say, if it doesn't contribute to the overal forums or creator/publisher experience in a certain amount of time (x weeks or x months), it can always be removed (or exiled to "Inactive Forums").

But again, I defer to the judgment (and especially experience!) of the admin- I'm not the kind of guy who gets all pissy or anything if it doesn't work out, I'm just glad to have helped with some ideas. I'm not in it to make anyone's job harder, I'm just throwing out stuff that, I think, would improve the Forge experience for me, and hopefully others too.

Just checking to see that I'm still on topic here: Moderation. Feedback. Suggestions. Check, check, check. Cool. I have a bad habit of going on tangents...


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Jason Lee on March 19, 2003, 10:58:06 PM
Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
What's missing? Seriously, what actual category of discussion is lacking here? Answer that, and the forum will be considered. I can't think of one, even the thread that started this thread. (Stated well, it'd fall into Indie Game Design.)


What's hard about this question is that everyone here may not have the same opinions on what belongs in each forum.

Obviously, with the indie game design forum this has been a real problem in the past, because now it has a policy sticky telling you what to post and what not to post.  Aside from future moderation, I think you've done all you can by posting the policy in the forum.

The indie forum is the only one with such a sticky.  RPG Theory has always seemed like a sort of dumping ground to me.  A lot of fuzzy topics appear in there that I would have put in GNS, Actual Play, or Publishing.  Whether or not I'm wrong about my perceptions of the fora I don't know, but a policy sticky in each forum would certainly make it clear to me (and maybe even others as well).  Besides, in writing the policy stickies you'll probably answer your own question about whether anything is missing - once everything is all down on paper, so to speak



I would have put the topic in Publishing if I'd posted it.  I've been thinking a lot about user interface in my design recently - how a person's eye in likely to flow across a character sheet, tone of the text, isolating number heavy text from concept heavy text, how to break apart dry sections of text while keeping them concise, and other such issues.  These are writing and layout issues yes, but very focused on how to present an RPG.  I don't think general writing advice applies anymore than understanding GNS applies to designing your specific game.  The general knowledge is important, but it isn't the end of the road.  

I haven't had need to ask any questions in this vein yet, but if I did they'd probably end up in Publishing.  If you (Ron, Clinton) think this is the wrong place, then maybe the policy stickies are needed.


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Marco on March 20, 2003, 05:29:08 AM
I got to this one first and assumed the guy (original poster) had really laid into Ron--he didn't (defensive, sure--he got his thread locked).

This is hardly a major breach (and I *do* think asking for support from fellow artists is a worthy goal that is within The Forge's charter to a degree--the answering posters certainly didn't send him packing).

Other than some basic stuff (PM first) I had two thoughts:
1. The thread probably would've died (someone's HELP, I'm making Warhammer III the RPG did, didn't it? I saw it just go down with 0 replies). If the thread *doesn't* die then maybe that's a signal that it should continue a little more (I mean, he was talking about writiers block for an RPG not ... ahem ... the evening news).

2. My major contribution is Get A Second Moderator (tm). There's plenty of people to choose from here. Find someone with a good track record (but it doesn't need to be perfect--my experence with RPG.net shows that folks seem to take it seriously). Take applications, make a call, and let them handle it.

It'd take some of the burden off you (Ron) and allow for a varitety of voices in the moderation (which could also help).

-Marco


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 20, 2003, 07:09:11 AM
Way ahead of you, Marco - but the fun part of trying to set that up was that people all agree with you (and me, and Clinton) and then no one wants to do it. Compounding this - only compounding, not defining it - is the tendency that the people who do want to do it might not always be well suited for it.

But in fact, I am going to re-initiate that effort from last year. It won't be a public process.

Best,
Ron


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on March 20, 2003, 09:41:41 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Way ahead of you, Marco - but the fun part of trying to set that up was that people all agree with you (and me, and Clinton) and then no one wants to do it. Compounding this - only compounding, not defining it - is the tendency that the people who do want to do it might not always be well suited for it.

You might want to rethink how you're choosing people, then. People who seem to have a problem with authority can do surprisingly well when that authority is given to them.

Maybe not. There is no real way to know. You best bet is to find a person willing to do the job and who is at least on the same page for what does and does not constitute viable discussion here on the Forge and just work within some sort of moderation policy, which you'll have to cobble up, I suppose.


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: M. J. Young on March 21, 2003, 12:36:48 AM
Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
What's missing? Seriously, what actual category of discussion is lacking here?

Ah, that is the question, isn't it?

I wrote to Ron privately, as at that time what I had to say didn't really add much to the discussion here; but it does seem to apply to this question. I'll answer the question with a question: why wasn't the writer's block issue on topic for a Forge forum? Obviously it wasn't that it was in the wrong forum--had that been the case, Ron would simply have moved it to the right forum. He shut it down, because he did not see it as appropriate for Forge discussion.

Yet writer's block is an issue for game design discussion. As evidence:[list=1]
  • Several people replied to the topic when it was posted before it was shut down, and all of them attempted to make constructive suggestions.
  • There are posts in this thread that suggest writer's block is an issue they consider part of the problems in RPG Design.
  • Writer's block was a topic raised in game design discussion on Gaming Outpost several years ago, and led to some very valuable insights from several contributors, including Jack and me as I recall.
  • Seth's Dreaming Out Loud game design column over at GO included an article on dealing with writer's block as part of the game design process.[/list:o]So there's plenty of reason to think that this is a game design issue, not merely a writer's issue--that is, writer's block and its solutions might not be the same thing in RPG design as it is in other media (it might, but do we know it to be so?). That Ron is convinced it doesn't belong on any of the existing forums proves pretty solidly that there's no place for it here at The Forge; that so many others are convinced that it is a real issue in game design demonstrates that there's a forum missing, a place where the subject would be appropriate.

    Peripheral Matters, Related Issues, Adjunct Topics, Relevant Concerns, there are plenty of things you could call it that would keep it subject-oriented without closing out stuff that belongs. Andy's right--the Indie Game Awards don't belong on any existing forum, either. Paganini mentions a Greg Costikyan something that I know I missed because no one mentioned it here. There clearly are things that are game-relevant that don't fit. You don't have a place for questions and discussions that members feel are important to the Forge agenda that don't fit the pigeonholes.

    That's all anyone is saying.

    --M. J. Young


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 21, 2003, 07:34:02 AM
Hi everyone,

I think I have a good understanding of the issues at hand, and that they don't need to be clarified further. We've hit the repetition point in this thread, which is a sign of trouble.

Since the topic of this thread is neither"Help Ron see what he did wrong," nor, "Why is writer's block off-topic," I'm inclined to say Thanks to everyone and be ready to close it.

As a rule, I don't justify myself on-line. The goal of the thread is for me to get a better idea of how people think things should be moderated, and that's been met. Final comments are still welcome, but please realize that all points made so far have been understood by me, so don't post to "help me understand" anything that's been said already.

Best,
Ron


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on March 21, 2003, 07:53:37 AM
The idea of a social forum keeps coming up in my mind. One idea is for a specific social forum which is hosted elsewhere using different forum software that presents a flat view of the threads and every once in a while, Poof. The forum is cleared and you can start over. Postings on such a forum should not be preserved for posterity, the way posts on the other forums are meant to be. Having them clear like an Etch-a-Sketch would be a worthwhile feature.


Title: Moderation issue - open discussion
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 21, 2003, 07:55:14 AM
Hi Jack,

Thanks for the suggestion, but I really don't think any such thing is going to happen at the Forge or associated with it officially.

However! If someone else wants to do this at their own website or via some other website, hosting it and so forth, organizing it, whatever, please feel free.

Best,
Ron