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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 80 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Forge pedagogy  (Read 17945 times)
Emily Care
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2004, 01:44:45 PM »

Hey all,

Making concepts understandable need not mean turning it into pablum.  There is an art to presenting difficult topics in a clear and meaningful way.  And although the mission of the Forge is not to go convert the masses to gns-think, there is obvious value in having resources to refer new people to. Otherwise Ron would never have written the 3 essays or the 5 threads, etc.  Spending some energy on finding simple clear ways to communicate with new folks will save everybody time--I bet it would add years to Mike's life if we could find some of that. :)  

Adam, I think the community has embraced this goal--Jonathan and Chris Lehrich are working on a Handbook that would be a resource along these lines.  We now have 2 glossaries, way, way cool.  And I know of at least one more project in the works. I'm sure more will come.  Especially if we help make it so.


Yrs,
Emily
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ethan_greer
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« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2004, 01:47:12 PM »

System Does Matter.

Short, sweet, to the point, covers the bases, mildly outdated but still relevant to the newcomer for whom these ideas are foreign but intriguing.  There's your primer. Give it a revision and I think it would be perfect for the task.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2004, 01:51:30 PM »

Hi there,

Adam, your latest post is much different from your first. It's also pretty non-controversial, and my answer is "Yup," and "Please pitch in."

I should also point out that I'm also working on a kind of "Role-playing Is" book, but it's definitely pitched to a very different audience from newcomers to the Forge.

So the work is under way. The real question for today is what do we do in the meanwhile? And if you and everyone are at least agreed to the principle that we do our best to meet and to mentor, then I suppose there's nothing left to debate.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2004, 01:52:51 PM »

Well, see, that's the thing - I'd agree that it makes for a good intro essay. But apparently Adam doesn't. He's told us that he's read the essays, and they do not suffice to bring some newcomers to the point where they can get involved with the conversation. What he's saying is that they need to be completely rewritten to be pedagogical, rather than research papers.

Do I have your position correct, Adam?

Mike
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ethan_greer
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« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2004, 01:56:03 PM »

Hey Adam,
I want to put this gently because I can totally see where you're coming from. On the other hand, I totally see where Ralph and Mike are coming from.  (Not like those two to agree on something, is it?)

Quote from: AdamDray
Unless we figure out how to package them up for the average outsider, the Forge's ideas are just for its members.

Right. What Ralph and Mike are trying to say, or at least what I'm hearing, is that there is a simple, tried-and-true process for making the transition from "outsider" to "member." It's basically, reading, thinking, reading more, thinking more, and interacting regularly during the entire process.

Could this process be easier? Yep. Is it impossible? Well, I've done it, so no, of course not. Will things be done in an effort to make it easier? I'm very optimistic, for all the reasons Emily has sited. I think the Forge's future is bright.
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greyorm
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« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2004, 01:56:33 PM »

Quote from: AdamDray
And here we find the crux of it. It was hard to write so it should be hard to read. I call bullshit on this

I don't think it's bullshit at all...but not because it was hard to read, rather because we're talking about complex concepts. Adam, if this were a developmental physical theory site, should a new poster be able to come in and immediately be able to grasp everything being discussed?

My answer is "no." Same thing here. There's going to be a lot of reading because there's a lot of material to digest, and many inter-related concepts. Can it be made easier to get into in the first place? Yes, I agree, it can.

Quote
2. The "ask questions" method of learning is sometimes discouraged by the behavior of some very active "teachers."

I think this has been dealt with before: I assume all you could be referring to by "discouragement" is members pointing those with questions to previous threads where their questions are answered. If I'm incorrect in that assumption, please let me know.

However, myself, I don't find that beahvior particularly discouraging; if a given individual does, I think it says more about them than it does the practice. This is how I teach students in a classroom situation when they ask a question under similar circumstances: have you read the text?

If they have, then I ask them to explain the text. If they explain the text and it still doesn't make sense, only then do I go into the answer.

So, "What is RAM?" doesn't require anything more than the student looking up the answer in the text. Heck, here, we're giving them the chapter and page number, even.

Quote
3. As the Forge body of knowledge grows, it becomes more difficult for outsiders to learn it.

But this is true of any body of knowledge.

Quote
yet the responses I got were very defensive and sarcastic.

I'm sorry if you found my response defensive or sarcastic, that was not my intention, so I apologize for that. I'd also like to go on record as being against the tone of Ralph's response to you above; I felt it was unjustified and hostile (I mean, "So what?" ?! That's not an answer of any acceptable value).

Quote
I was hoping that the community as a whole would get behind the idea of creating a guide.

Honestly, I've never seen a "community project" work, but I have seen them fail. This isn't poo-pooing the idea, just saying that such a project would have to progress in a different way: someone, an individual, needs to step forward and devote themselves to it, and carry it, and coordinate it if others choose to help, and finish it. The "community" isn't going to do that.

This is exactly how the NPA was done. For years, people kept saying, "We should collect these games together and release them. We should. Yeah. If we all worked together." And it didn't happen until someone stepped forward, took the reins of the project in hand, and said, "I'm going to do this. Do you want to contribute?"

Same thing here. It's a good idea. But it needs a leader to step forward and take the reins of its development.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2004, 02:06:46 PM »

Hey! I think people are posting a little too fast in this thread. There was a whole kiss-and-make-up post about two clicks back. Can everyone just, you know, breathe for a bit? Then read over the whole thread again, and then post if necessary?

Best,
Ron
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Hunter Logan
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Posts: 86


« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2004, 04:37:47 PM »

If this thread is still open, I'd like to offer my 2 cents. As one who participated in the early days of the debate, I can say the learning curve/teaching problem has always been a factor in the debate - Even back in the GO days. There is a lot more material now, but I think Ron's most recent Big Three essays coupled with his Glossary are as comprehensive a set of documents as anyone could reasonably hope to have. It's complicated, but it's accessible, and the community has many members willing to answer questions.

New terminology is going to emerge. That's natural. I think, if the glossary gets updated even once a year, the Forge should be in good shape. But Ron is not the only one with a keyboard. I see there are other efforts under way to produce good, instructive documents. I hope all those come to fruition, but people who feel passionate about specific topics might want to write their own documents specific to their chosen areas of interest.

I'm not trying to preach, but Ron is only one guy. He's prolific, but he can't compress 3000 viewpoints into one document that will please everyone. It's just not possible. He's done the best he can to articulate the theory. The documents are long because the debate has gone on for a long time and the theory includes a large body of material. It's not strictly necessary to learn that material to participate in site discussions, except in the GNS forum, but the documentation is better than it's ever been. If it's imperfect, people are imperfect. It's still a damn fine effort.
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Adam Dray
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« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2004, 07:33:30 PM »

Greyorm, I know the concepts are complex. That's why I want to create better teaching materials. I don't expect a new poster to be able to get it in five minutes, even with these materials. I just want to ease the transition.

The "discouragement" to which I prefer is what I consider uncivil behavior: anything ranging from an overly terse "go read this thread" (before you deign post a question) to stuff like what Mike did to Chad. I think pointing people at prior threads is fine, if done nicely.

Quote
However, myself, I don't find that beahvior particularly discouraging; if a given individual does, I think it says more about them than it does the practice. This is how I teach students in a classroom situation when they ask a question under similar circumstances: have you read the text?


Still, there's not much of a text to read. If your physics professor instead referred you to a web forum in which quantum physicists were arguing a hundred different sides of different theoretical models, finding your answer in there might be more difficult.

Quote
Quote
3. As the Forge body of knowledge grows, it becomes more difficult for outsiders to learn it.

But this is true of any body of knowledge.


Yes, it is. And most fields of study handle this by writing textbooks on their subjects.

I wasn't suggesting that the community write it, but when I suggested the idea of some primers, I was hoping to hear a bunch of responses of the, "Hey, that's a great idea! I'd totally go for that! The Forge could use something like that!" kind. Instead, I got more responses of the "Why effing bother? We don't want to make this easier!" variety, amidst the other defensive responses.

I'm told that there's already a project of this kind under way. I'd like to offer my help as an editor or contributor.
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Adam Dray
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« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2004, 07:43:51 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Do I have your position correct, Adam?


Yes, though I wouldn't try to dig as deep in a primer. I don't seem to be the only one who thinks that a separate document is a great way to introduce people to the theories.

Yes, System Does Matter is a great place to start but it doesn't introduce Creative Agenda (as a term) or Social Contract (as a concept) -- two ideas that are fundamental to the Forge's body of knowledge.
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
John Kim
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« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2004, 11:15:50 PM »

Quote from: AdamDray
  Yes, though I wouldn't try to dig as deep in a primer. I don't seem to be the only one who thinks that a separate document is a great way to introduce people to the theories.

Yes, System Does Matter is a great place to start but it doesn't introduce Creative Agenda (as a term) or Social Contract (as a concept) -- two ideas that are fundamental to the Forge's body of knowledge.  

OK, I'm going to disagree about what is fundamental.  I think if anything, the primer for people should be an introduction some of the actual games (like Trollbabe, MLWM, the Pool, and Universalis).  Relatively abstract theory concepts like GNS aren't fundamental, IMO.  Actually, I would approve more of people looking at the games without GNS theory, since it isn't (and shouldn't be) necessary for playing and enjoying them.  

A good primer in my mind would be an overview of the more successful (for some sense of the term) games to come out of The Forge.
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- John
Adam Dray
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« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2004, 05:09:44 AM »

Relatively abstract theory concepts like Creative Agenda and Social Contract, however, are fundamental to understanding the Big Model and the other jargon-rich theories and ideas that confound new members here.

Sure, reading and playing some indie games is a great way to experience those theories in action, but it doesn't provide the formal framework that allows a member to discuss those games using the same language that experienced Forge members use.

Essentially, you seem to have changed the problem to arrive at a different solution.  I never said understanding GNS theory was necessary for enjoying and playing them. I said understanding GNS theory was necessary for discussing GNS theory. I apologize if I wasn't clear.
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2004, 07:22:18 AM »

Quote from: Emily Care
Spending some energy on finding simple clear ways to communicate with new folks will save everybody time--I bet it would add years to Mike's life if we could find some of that. :)  
This was probably a throwaway comment, but I'd like to actually comment.

Even if there was a primer document, I'd still do what I do in the same fashion. Sure, I might refer to the document, but I'd still work with people. Why? Well, why do I do what I do at all? What do I get out of it? I think that people are geninely convinced that its some ego trip on my part, and that I want to be a barrier so as to feel superior. But that's not at all my motive.

I do what I do because I learn every day from doing it. I'd like to think that I've gotten pretty good at presenting this material, and understanding some things about game design. But if I have, it's not just through the theory discussions. In fact, I'd say that 80% of whatever ability I have at design has been gained through looking at the many designs that come through the Indie Design forum. I help people with design because it makes me better at it every day. I've said it before, but one never learns so much as when one instructs, and works with someone through a problem. I learn as much from the "apprentices" as they learn from me.

So, no, I'm not going to portray myself as completely selfless. I wouldn't expect that anyone would participate in the community if they didn't get something practical back. So, what I'm saying is that I enjoy working with people. That doesn't require a primer - note how little one of my threads dealing with somebody keeps away from jargon, or explains what needs to be explained only. There is no attempt to "drown" posters in Jargon - nor to help them get through it, particularly. That's not the point of that forum. The point is to deal with their designs on an individual bases. And that, I think, we do admirably.

Again, Adam, is the behavior really all that "uncivil" here? Are you refering to anybody besides me? Am I really that uncivil? Nearly 8000 posts, in which the vast majority are nothing like the one post you keep bringing up, and I'm uncivil? Even if I am, again, do I represent the whole of The Forge? Are you really that afraid of lil ole me? If so, what can I do to fix it? Would a promise to play nice in the future suffice? What would solve the uncivility problem?

If it helps:

    [*]I, Michael C. Holmes, in a response to Chad, and possibly in many other posts, have behaved like an asshole, and do now apollogize for said assholishness. My only defense is that it seemed to be a good idea at the time (which I will explain if that would help). If I have offended people, then let them know that I am concerned that I have done so, and wish to make amends. Please let me know, individually, what I can do to make things right for you. If there's nothing I can do, I sincerely hope that this public apollogy will suffice, and hope that I haven't damaged anybody's ability to participate.

    Further, I authorize any person from this date forward to announce to me that I am behaving like an asshole so that I may become aware of the problem I am causing. Any such person making said announcement (please use the precise term "asshole" for clarity) will be immune from remonstrances by myself, and incure no ire, these to ensure that they can do so with immunity and without fear of hurting my feelings. Also, let it be known that people doing so should be free from remonstrances from others as I've asked for just this treatment. [/list:u]
    Hmm. Any way I can post that more publicly? Maybe a shorter version in my sig?

    Mike
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    ethan_greer
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    « Reply #28 on: May 19, 2004, 07:38:20 AM »

    Hm. How about this:

    Mike's Standard Rant #8: I Am An Asshole

    Yes, I'm serious.
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    Mike Holmes
    Acts of Evil Playtesters
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    Posts: 10459


    « Reply #29 on: May 19, 2004, 11:29:23 AM »

    Hmmm. I would do that in a minute, Ethan, if it were actually a topic germane to The Forge overall. But I think that perhaps its a bit too off topic for any forum. If I posted it here in "site" for example, then that would be saying that I am somehow key to The Forge.

    Hmmm. Maybe Ralph would agree to let me put it in the Uni forum?

    In any case, I hope we're mostly settled here. I've apollogized, and hope that the rest of the Forge isn't so bad that it will be required to do so as well. In terms of writing, we agree that making materials as accessible is a good idea, and we'll all do what we can to achieve that goal.

    So, at this point, I'm thinking we're back to talking about what makes something accessible. Anybody got any links on how to write less "theory" and more "instruction" oriented texts? Perhaps if we knew more of the difference, we could see better where we're lacking.

    Mike
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