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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 77 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Forge Hubris, Part II  (Read 20096 times)
John Harper
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« Reply #30 on: May 11, 2004, 08:01:43 AM »

Quote from: Jason L Blair
First, I wasn't agreeing with everything Chris said. Let that stand. I agree neither was behaving professionally.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm not saying the Forge is perfect and inviolate and Thall Shalt Not Criticize. I'm saying that it's Really Damn Good, flaws and all. It could be better, but as a posting "member" of the Forge, making it better is my responsibility. John Kim is right. Nothing is accomplished by picking up your toys and going home.
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greyorm
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« Reply #31 on: May 11, 2004, 08:12:51 AM »

Sorry, Ethan, which conversation? That there are perception problems that exist about the Forge? Or that Ron/the Forge is just a bunch of drooling, self-obsessed cultists?

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, yeah, let's talk about how the terminology is affecting the ability of posters to participate, and how we might better be able to immerse new participants in the local culture to facilitate clear discussion. Hubris? Xenophobia? Not even on the radar.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #32 on: May 11, 2004, 08:31:31 AM »

Chad, in regards to my post in response to the thread in question, you'll find that this is a pretty isloated incident. Rather, I do this regularly, but not as a matter of course. And I'm not saying that I made a mistake or posted as I did by accident - quite the opposite. I'm saying that I reserve the use of "Asshole Mike" for special circumstances.

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

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

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

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

Or is that just my Hubris showing?

Mike
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ethan_greer
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« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2004, 08:33:45 AM »

Quote from: greyorm
Sorry, Ethan, which conversation? That there are perception problems that exist about the Forge? Or that Ron/the Forge is just a bunch of drooling, self-obsessed cultists?

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

Well, with the possible exception of people blowing off some steam. Which, as you and I have both observed, happens at approximately regular intervals. So maybe it is a necessary and healthy phenomenon.
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xiombarg
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« Reply #34 on: May 11, 2004, 08:39:07 AM »

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

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

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

That doesn't mean, like Ethan, that I think this thread should stop now. I'm just explaining why I'm not contributing: I think everyone's making very salient points but I don't have much to add to what people have already said. But if people start feeling like Ethan does, y'all certainly have my blessing to close the thread.
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Sean
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« Reply #35 on: May 11, 2004, 08:52:28 AM »

I agree, Ethan, but I want to make one comment anyway.

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

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

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

And now I think I'm going to follow Ethan's advice and bow out.
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John Kim
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« Reply #36 on: May 11, 2004, 09:03:40 AM »

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

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

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

I agree with Jason's perception of The Forge as insular, and I've given specific suggestions for the site as well as made independent efforts (i.e. my http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/theory/glossary/">theory glossary) to try to address that.
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- John
greyorm
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« Reply #37 on: May 11, 2004, 09:15:05 AM »

Quote from: John Kim
I agree with Jason's perception of The Forge as insular

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

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

Help me out!
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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chadu
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Posts: 134


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« Reply #38 on: May 11, 2004, 09:25:37 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Chad, in regards to my post in response to the thread in question, you'll find that this is a pretty isloated incident. (snip)


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

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


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

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

CU
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Chad Underkoffler [chadu@yahoo.com]

Atomic Sock Monkey Press

 Available Now: Truth & Justice
Dav
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« Reply #39 on: May 11, 2004, 09:43:43 AM »

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

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


And I respondeth:

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

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

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

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

The Forge talks a damn good game.

It talks and talks and talks.

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

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

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

Dav

(and, to any and all wondering... THAT, my friends, is distilled and crystalized elitism.)
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Bankuei
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« Reply #40 on: May 11, 2004, 10:34:11 AM »

Hi folks,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall, I think a lot of people:

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

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

Chris
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John Harper
Member

Posts: 1054

flip you for real


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« Reply #41 on: May 11, 2004, 10:38:43 AM »

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

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

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

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

Posts: 1054

flip you for real


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« Reply #42 on: May 11, 2004, 11:15:35 AM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posts: 432


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« Reply #43 on: May 11, 2004, 11:51:58 AM »

John:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dav
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greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #44 on: May 11, 2004, 02:29:31 PM »

Quote from: Dav
I mean: where is this influx of new blood designing kick-ass mortal-injury-bloodloss-bleeding-edge games?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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