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Valamir
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« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2004, 01:01:40 PM »

I have to say Clay...phooey.  I don't disagree that there are those who would agree with your statement...in fact, you are probably quite accurate in saying that they do.  But IMO thats a bunch of nonsense.

Jargon does not elitism make.  

If I make a concious effort to avoid ever saying "Director Stance"...what should I say?  Should I have to write 3 paragraphs of stuff to convey the same meaning that simply saying "Director Stance" would convey?

And if someone wanted to discuss the point with me would they have to keep saying "that thing you were talking about up above" because there wouldn't be a word to refer to it by?

Ridiculous, IMO.


Jargon only appears elitist to those individuals who are bound and determined to believe that roleplaying is just a form of pure entertainment for which there is no need and no advantage to analysing it.  The "its just a silly game we're playing.  Quit trying to intellectualize it" crowd.

How would people discuss literature without words like Theme, Plot, Protagonist, Antagonist, Foil, Stream of Conciousness, Sub Text, Dialog, Moral, etc etc?  Are these not all "jargon".  Sure they are.  They just happen to be jargon most of us were familiarized with in various Lit classes.  

Does not the world of painting have its jargon?  Do not folks converse about Opera and Chamber Music using loads of esoteric jargon...most of it in a wierd combination of French and Italian with some Latin thrown in for good measure?

If painting, and music, and literature all have their jargons used to discuss, dissect, critique, and appreciate them...why not RPGs?  Because RPG's are just a silly game and not art?  Hogwash says I.

Is our Jargon on the Forge as nice, neat, structured, and understood as the Jargon of painting, music, and literature?  Of course not.  Why?  Because we've been working on it for all of 3 years here and a few years more from other sources and the other arts have had centuries to develop standard terminology.

Given that, I personally find it ridiculous for people to complain about the uncertain and shifting nature of the jargon.  From a certain perspective its flattering that they assume that we few folks here should be able to invent a perfect lexicon to explore an understudied art form nearly instantaneously...we'd have to all be geniuses to pull that off.  But mostly its just flat out annoying.  It demonstrates how little thought most folks put into their roleplaying if they can think for a minute that creating a language to discuss it is a quick and easy task.

So no, using Jargon is not a mark of elitism.   Unless elitism is somehow misconstrued to include any effort to understand any subject at a level deeper than the superficial.
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C. Edwards
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Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2004, 02:01:43 PM »

Quote from: Valamir
Unless elitism is somehow misconstrued to include any effort to understand any subject at a level deeper than the superficial.


Actually, considering pop culture plus the shifting nature of language and the meanings of words, I'd say that description is right on the money.

So, there ya go.

-Chris
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2004, 02:03:21 PM »

Actually, the cry of elitism in regards to the jargon comes from a misunderstanding that some discussion here is still about RPGs.

RPGs have their own jargon, too. Character sheet, d10, module, system, etc. Some people come here well versed in the jargon of this subculture/activity and expect to fit in immediate. But We don't discuss RPGs here. Not always. We discuss RPG theory, which is a related but not congruant subculture/activity. It is a different thing with a different set of jargon which must be learned. Some people just don't get it.
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ADGBoss
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« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2004, 03:18:52 PM »

Quote from: Clay

If you want to tone it down, stop using jargon.


Just throwing in my 2 lunars on this one, I think that there is or should be a distinction made between using a piece of Jargon properly, and using it as a .50 word to try and impress people.  Possibly even to confuse people. Someone uses "Director Stance", "Gamism", and "Story Now" in the same sentence with no real concept of how to properly use the terms, and in such a meaningless jumble that it makes no sense.

Though I would think any reasonably intelligent non-Forger might recognize the illusion for what it is.

Incidently I think there are a fair number of people (myself included) who stick with ten cent words and phrases to explain themselves, are easily understood, and often make contributiuons to the discussions. So anyone who claims that the Forge "Jargon" makes us sound Elitist is just being intellectually lazy.

I like RPG.net very much, I wrote some articles there and occasionally go back but frankly, and this is just my opinion, the discussions have broken down into mean spirited attempts to count coup.  I would not care what people who do that sort of thing thought of myself or the Forge.  Very few of them are making money or worthwhile contributions to the Hobby. So let them be.


Sean
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Clay
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« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2004, 03:56:04 PM »

I think I found a raw spot for a few people.  Good, it worked.

Sean, "sticking to ten cent words" is exactly the approach that I would recommend for avoiding the elitist label, if its one you don't like.  You'll note though that I didn't say it was necessarily bad.  It does set this site apart from other gaming sites.  That's good, it needs to be a place that's different.  If it wasn't, RPG.net would be sufficient for everybody's needs.

Your statement about people being able to see through posters who throw a lot of excess jargon into their writing is dead on.  It's what I called twaddle.  Those of you who are college professors can probably recognize that look of confusion that your students get when you let slip a piece of jargon in the classroom that might be more appropriate to a scholarly journal.  "Virtual Table" was the word that did it for me; I had a class full of glazed faces, and I'll bet most of you here who don't write in C++ were a little lost too.  You certainly don't know revision control or build systems from Adam.

If you're having this discussion at all, it's a sign that you're a little insecure about the language we use.  I personally don't care about the jargon, I just tend to step around the conversation since the jargon usually indicates a subject I'm not interested in discussing.  But if I managed to hit a sore point, maybe you should ask yourself why you were bothered.  I can't answer it for you; the answer is very personal and all about you.
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Clay Dowling
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Balbinus
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Posts: 290


« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2004, 04:41:07 AM »

I understand you guys are jointly creating a GNS glossary.  That would actually help immensely.  As someone who posts primarily on rpg.net I can say that personally I find it immensely frustrating to have those advocating GNS using frequently wholly inconsistent definitions of the most basic terms.

That sounds aggressive, but is genuinely not meant that way.  The typical GNS thread on rpg.net in my experience goes as follows:

Someone raises a GNS related query
A GNS interested (advocate is too strong here) person replies
A anti-GNS person replies, often aggressively and in a trollish fashion
More pro and anti-GNS people join the thread.

And here's where it breaks down.  The pro-GNS people aren't remotely consistent in how they apply the terminology.  I recently asked on rpg.net if it was still true that GNS was considered only to be useful to a group if they were having problems in actual play, which I remember was a thought once voiced.  I got several conflicting answers each from self-described Forge posters who were into GNS.  I have no idea what the actual current view is, my strong impression was that there is in fact no agreement on something that basic.

Someone else queried the effect of Force on Narrativist play.  In the space of the same thread we got multiple different explanations from self-described Forge posters who apparently found GNS a useful communicative tool, but who profoundly disagreed with each other.  In some cases the most ardent seemed to be disagreeing with the actual text of Ron's essays.  Is Force relevant to or conflicting with narrativist play?  Again, I have no idea after that thread.

And that is a key problem you guys have.  You use these words, but when you collectively try to explain them to outsiders you contradict each other.  Hardly surprising given that almost anyone can describe themselves as a Forge poster and GNS advocate of course, regardless of how current they are with the debate.

A glossary would really help.  My honest impression from those recent rpg.net threads was, to put it bluntly, that as a forum you have no consistent definitions and simply don't know what it is that you're actually talking about.  I doubt that's fair or entirely true, but if simple queries like those can't be answered by experienced Forge posters then it's hardly surprising people dismiss you.

So, back to my notional thread.  We now have three or four conflicting definitions of every term under debate.  Quotes are dragged up by both sides, pro and anti, that seem to support every position taken and all seem to be equally valid.  The poster who isn't already interested not unreasonably looks at the resulting mess and writes of GNS as pseudo-intellectualist jargon for its own sake, devoid of meaning.

Again, this is not a slam.  I'm not saying (not even by inference) that it is jargon for its own sake.  But I'm actually interested and reading only the Forge names I recognised in the thread it was still evident to me that you were not consistent with each other.  A glossary would address that and help show that there is actually a real discussion ocurring, not simply jargon which shifts meaning whenever you need it to in order to rebut an opponent's post.

As for elitism, some of you IMO are, some aren't.  I don't think this is an elitist forum in the derogatory sense.  Posts like MJ's though (sorry MJ) I think could easily be viewed that way, a law degree hardly requires vast brilliance I assure you and the fact one is a qualified lawyer in no way implies anything much other than some ability with language and an aptitude for not falling asleep when reading very dull texts.
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AKA max
Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2004, 04:45:27 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
Given that, I personally find it ridiculous for people to complain about the uncertain and shifting nature of the jargon.  From a certain perspective its flattering that they assume that we few folks here should be able to invent a perfect lexicon to explore an understudied art form nearly instantaneously...we'd have to all be geniuses to pull that off.  But mostly its just flat out annoying.  It demonstrates how little thought most folks put into their roleplaying if they can think for a minute that creating a language to discuss it is a quick and easy task.


Valamir, if it shifts so much that multiple posters give flatly contradictory definitions you have a problem.  Sure, it will shift, the ideas are in flux.  But some shifting I've seen goes way beyond that.  Either Force prevents narrativist play or it doesn't or the jury is still out on the point.  Any of those is cool including a statement that opinions differ and it's being thought through.  But if I see one poster tell me that Force is naturally present in narrativist play and another a moment later say that Force flatly prevents narrativist play, I don't think it's unreasonable to say that the terminology is moving beyond shifting into the realm of the meaningless.

The lexicon need not be perfect, just not self-contradictory.  I am, in fact, quite confident you guys here can manage that and if you really cannot I think you have greater problems with the theory than outside perceptions.
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AKA max
Balbinus
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Posts: 290


« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2004, 04:57:00 AM »

Quote from: jdrakeh
Of course, I could be way off-base here. I've had a fairly emotional past several months, and the mental wear and tear could just be taking its toll. I openly concede that this could be the case, though it wouldn't explain other people noticing these same thing ;)


As a minor aside, there are Forge posters who I think don't always put the forum in the best possible light (as there are with every forum of course), but you're not one of them.  I've not noticed a trend to overintellectualisation or arrogance or anything of the sort on your part.  Don't mistake criticism of a forum you participate in as criticism of you.  I saw rpg.net described as a cesspit today, I post there frequently so logically I'm a part of that.  So it goes, the description wasn't aimed at me personally and I don't take it that way.

IMO, for what that's worth, on rpg.net you're a good poster and well liked.  If your posts here are as interesting as your posts there I suspect the forum regulars here value you just as much as most of those at rpg.net do.

Sorry for what I think is likely an off-topic post but sometimes not to comment on self-criticism is to give the impression that it is agreed with.
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AKA max
Valamir
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« Reply #23 on: June 29, 2004, 05:57:44 AM »

Quote
Valamir, if it shifts so much that multiple posters give flatly contradictory definitions you have a problem.


I don't agree at all.  In fact, I'd say that's one of the strengths of the site.

Alot of detractors of the Forge will make references to "Cult of Ron", or "Group Think", or "only the ideas of a few get to be expressed and any disagreement is squashed".  

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Many aspects of the theory have Forge regulars divided into camps argueing with each other over different aspects and applications of concepts and terminology.  If you need proof that the Forge has not fallen into the trap of "group think" led by a few regular posters, the word "Force" is a good bit of evidence.

Officially the term "Force" at this point refers to the GM removing player control over making thematically important decisions for their character...i.e. the GM manipulates such to prevent the player from addressing premise, or limits the manner in which the player can to the GMs preferred choice.  That's the sense in which posters have said Force is antithema to narrativism.

Others have taken a broader approach to the word "Force" using it to refer to the GM exerting any degree of control over player choices (thematically important or not).  Under this broader definition, there are certain applications of Force that are bad for narrativism (like the current "official" definition) and other applications that actually are quite useful and compatable with narrativism (like aggressive scene framing).


Is this confusing...can be, sure.  But Force is one of the newest terms being "tried out".  Its still being put through its paces and there is still disagreement over what the most appropriate way to label the above items are.  Perfectly normal, and perfectly understandable.

A couple of years ago "Simulation" was being trotted around and a lot of different competing definitions were put forth by different "camps".  Some members were adamant about their definition.  Some waffled back and forth.  Others were completely disinterested and wanted to talk about other things.  Also pretty usual.  

Eventually, Ron absorbed all of this discussion and filtered it down with his own thoughts and came out with the Simulation essay.  I understand that you find the Sim essay to be fairly accurate.  Great.  But there are literally 1000s of posts, alot of discussion, some anguish, and not an inconsiderable amount of vehement arguement behind it to get it to that point.  

Force is no different.  Since its not a "core" concept like Simulationism, the discussions have been a good bit less vitriolic, but as it is a concept closely tied to ideas of Railroading (quite a hot button) there have been moments of intensity.


So I guess that's a long winded way of saying that I don't really see a problem with the idea that Forge members don't all currently agree on the definition.  I think instead that its a feature of what we do here and evidence that the Forge is not a "World According to Ron" site.

Perhaps certain members should be less eager to practice the more work-in-progress concepts on unsuspecting RPG.netters...but then every new concept needs to be taken for a spin; so to the extent that some thoughtful RPG.netters have added their thoughts to the discussion who aren't otherwise engaged in discourse over here, some good can even come from that.
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Marco
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« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2004, 06:41:17 AM »

Ralph,

My problem with changing terminologies is that they are used all too often to argue that the user doesn't understand the issue. If you don't believe me, I can point to a case of this like last week (RPG.net) wherein the person who told me I was misuisng a word had used the word the same way I did (and in a perfectly understandable way too, I think) a few weeks earlier. That's a problem.

Now, it may be that the person using the term doesn't understand it--but when I can use 'deprotagonized' for a month with Mike Holems and can be told by the guy who coined the term that I'm using it wrong that's a problem.

The Force issue came up on RPG.net by someone who's very well versed in GNS and posts here a lot.

Look--I don't think there's any kind of *conspiracy* to dodge around terms. But I think it happens all too often and because there is no self policing when someone who is a long-time poster bends a term or makes what might be a shaky argument, one can read these threads and come away with the idea that terms mean things substantially different than what they "do."

I think this happened in the Virtual Reality Ouja Boards thread with John Kim's post about the Revised Beeg Horseshoe--I hadn't studied the revised version, but the glossary says it's contraversial--the responses he got (which I read) didn't enlighten me as to what the contraversy was.

But I think John was posting in good faith--if he did make a huge glaring error the problem doesn't likely lie with his intelligence (which, I think, is not open to question) or his reading comprehension (which, I should think, is pretty well established by now).

I'd consider that the problem is in the way that concepts are argued and defended here.

-Marco
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Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #25 on: June 29, 2004, 06:45:26 AM »

Ralph,

If anyone had said that the concept was still in development that would have helped.  But think about it from the perspective of an outsider for a moment.

A simple question was asked.  No consistent answer was received.  If that was your first exposure to GNS would your first thought be:

A.  Wow, there is plainly a lot to think about here, I should explore it further; or

B.  Wow, these guys can't even agree with each other.  I'll come back once they make up their minds what they're talking about.

B is not being unintellectual, it is a rational response.  If one starts from the assumption that GNS is valid, as you do, then lack of agreement shows that a dynamic discussion is ongoing.  If one does not start from that assumption then a less kind interpretation suggests itself.  If on that thread you had posted what you have here the whole thing would have been a lot clearer.

The internet is full of all kinds of errant nonsense, a rational viewer screens out stuff that appears to be nonsense unless given reason to the contrary.  If you want to communicate the theory on rpg.net to rational viewers* it would help not to make it appear to be nonsense by posting stuff as absolute fact when it is just opinion.

I would note in passing by the way, that I have never asked for proof of an absence of groupthink or cult of Ron.  Anyone who asks for stuff in those kind of terms will likely not be satisfied with any answer you respond with.

*Viewer actually, I think he still posts there.
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AKA max
Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #26 on: June 29, 2004, 06:47:48 AM »

Just to add, you may not care that outsiders think that parts of the theory which are works in progress are nonsense, I honestly think that is fine but if that approach is taken you also shouldn't blame people when they do think that.  The answer is not to talk about those bits externally until they are in better shape or to provide big stonking health warnings with any discussion you do enter into.
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AKA max
Valamir
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« Reply #27 on: June 29, 2004, 07:11:56 AM »

Quote from: Marco"I'd consider that the problem is in the way that concepts are argued and defended here. [/quote]

I'm well aware that you consider it a problem, Marco.  But unless you are prepared to also develop the solution to that problem and outline in some detail the magic formula that will make that problem go away...one that doesn't involve volunteering others to do even more volumes of unpaid work...then your repeating this point ad naseum is decidedly unhelpful.

Pointing out solutions is welcome.  

Harping on problems is just irritating.

Despite our commitment to the Forge and what we're trying to do here we all have lives, jobs, families, and other assorted miscellainy that for many of us includes actually running a game business.  If my full time, fully compensated career, was developing the GNS theory...I'd be alot more sympathetic to complaints about its inadequacies.

If you see something that you think should be a priority for us...like say beating the theory into shape so that the casual reader immediately "gets it" with little effort or frustration...hey great.  Welcome aboard and I look forward to reading the first draft of your attempt.


[quote="Balbinus
A. Wow, there is plainly a lot to think about here, I should explore it further; or

B. Wow, these guys can't even agree with each other. I'll come back once they make up their minds what they're talking about.

B is not being unintellectual, it is a rational response.



I don't have a problem with choice B.  Actually I think there are a heck of alot of people over at RPG.net that simply need to select choice B and leave it alone.

What I do have a problem with is choice C.


C.  Wow, here's something I don't understand at all, aren't willing to put in the effort required to figure it out, and they haven't gone out of their way to make it any easier...so I think I'll just crap all over it for kicks.


To "A" types I say, "Fantastic, welcome, I look forward to sharing ideas and learning from your contributions"

To "B" types I say, "Fantastic, I have no idea when our work will progress to a point where its ready-for-prime-time, but when it does I hope you'll check it out and find it was worth the wait".

To "C" types I say "go fuck yourself, asshole"...or more accurately, I try very hard not to say that...
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Marco
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« Reply #28 on: June 29, 2004, 07:19:04 AM »

Ralph,

I did my best--it wasn't successful (Ron had my essay. Contra thought it looked promising, IIRC--but it ultimately didn't make it).

However: I do have a suggestion.

Don't argue that people who've studied the theory "don't understand it"--instead approach those arguments from the perspective that either the material may engender misunderstandings or even legitimate disagreements since, despite a lot of analogies, it isn't Information Technology and it isn't physics.

I would also say that some things that are taken as faith here are more like matters of opinion (or at least presently unprovable due to lack of either a methodology for testing or a sample-size large enough). Taking that approach would help too IMO.

-Marco
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greyorm
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« Reply #29 on: June 29, 2004, 08:10:47 AM »

Quote
The Force issue came up on RPG.net by someone who's very well versed in GNS and posts here a lot.

Marco & Max,

The Force issue was not brought up by myself. It was injected into the discussion by E, an RPG.netter. I am personally of the opinion its introduction to the discussion was a red herring, mainly because E went on to argue that since Force is central to Narrativism (ie: defines it), the whole definition of Narrativism is thus wrong, GNS is really all about Force/not-Force so the mode category definitions are all wrong, and that Narrativists don't allow anything to happen to their characters they don't want, etc.

E used "Force" in it's broad and unofficial context to inform his argument. Yet, people from the Forge end up stuck with blame for the arguments made on his part and (mis?)use of a term that helped confused the issue?
In fact, examining the thread right now, Ralph is the only Forger to deal with the Force issue, all other points about it are brought up by CPXB and E -- non-Forgers -- and I pled ignorance as to the claimed dependence of Narrativism upon Force.

Yet you both are saying, "multiple Forgers made different arguments about what Force is to Nar." What I'm seeing is an argument against "what GNS advocates do" based on events skewed from their actuality to back up the criticism. Statements made about that situation in particular seem to stem from a case of selective memory regarding the contents of and participants in the thread in question. Honestly, I tend to believe that this happens quite a bit regarding criticisms of particular events, practices, and behaviors on the Forge.

I'm not saying you're entirely wrong, here, regarding your criticisms, but that is my perspective on the stated "evidence" in this particular case, and a bit of criticism about the nature of some of the criticism.

Oh, and hey, we now have two critical arguments: either we're a mindless bunch of group-thinking cultists, or a completely fractious group of independent thinkers with no core agreement. Look! It's impossible to win! (Ok, seperate issue, and I'm not accusing you two of the cult-think bit. Just venting.)
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
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