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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 83 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Forge Hubris, Part II  (Read 20835 times)
Matt Wilson
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #15 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?
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Walt Freitag
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Posts: 1039


« Reply #16 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
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John Harper
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Posts: 1054

flip you for real


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« Reply #17 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.
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Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!
John Kim
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Posts: 1805


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« Reply #18 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.
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- John
Mark Johnson
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Posts: 238


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« Reply #19 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.
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joshua neff
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Posts: 949


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« Reply #20 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.
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
chadu
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Posts: 134


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« Reply #21 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
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Chad Underkoffler [chadu@yahoo.com]

Atomic Sock Monkey Press

 Available Now: Truth & Justice
Valamir
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« Reply #22 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.
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DevP
Member

Posts: 576


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« Reply #23 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?
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John Kim
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Posts: 1805


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« Reply #24 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.
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- John
joshua neff
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Posts: 949


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« Reply #25 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.
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #26 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
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Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


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« Reply #27 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.
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Jason L Blair
Member

Posts: 636

Nothing is sacred.


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« Reply #28 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.
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Jason L Blair
Writer, Game Designer
ethan_greer
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Posts: 869


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« Reply #29 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.
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