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Marco
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Posts: 1741


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« Reply #30 on: June 29, 2004, 08:35:58 AM »

Hi Raven,

Well, for what it's worth: I'm glad you don't ascribe cult-speak to me.

On the other hand, I think that "Nar is defined by Force" as a practical matter has a lot of value. In other words, while it may not be the way to conventionally define Narrativist play, I don't necessiarily think it's a red herring at all. For someone trying to get to Nar play or by trying to differentiate between what they're doing now and what might be Nar play it's a very key question.

-Marco
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #31 on: June 29, 2004, 08:57:02 AM »

Marco, response to the Nar/Force issue in the appropriately named Narrativism & Force thread over in GNS Model Discussion.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #32 on: June 29, 2004, 09:30:26 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
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...


That works for me, though I think with type C a more effective approach is to simply to not respond, generally genuine type Cs will hang themselves pretty quickly.

Sometimes though a type C is just a type B who has hit a lot of internet nonsense and is perhaps a little impatient.  All I would say to Forge advocates is give a little benefit of the doubt, most type Bs will say after a bit "whatever" and move on, if they keep banging away then odds are they're type C but until they've refused to drop the point you should always assume B IMO.
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AKA max
Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #33 on: June 29, 2004, 09:37:29 AM »

Quote from: greyorm
Marco, response to the Nar/Force issue in the appropriately named Narrativism & Force thread over in GNS Model Discussion.


Greyorm,

It was the example that sprung to mind.  The bit about whether GNS was only relevant to functional play also came up though and that represented a genuine query on my part.

There are different schools of thought here, and sometimes there are people who explain the theory externally who maybe haven't got all of it yet.  All I am arguing for is expressing doubt more clearly.  Not saying "the theory says X" but "my understanding of the theory is X" or "views differ and the theory on this bit is still being developed, my take is X".

None of that will convince anti-GNS posters, but nothing ever will.  What it may do is persuade lurkers and the uncommitted to give you more of a hearing.  False certainty is your real enemy and admitting doubt doesn't weaken your arguments, it strengthens them with anyone worth arguing with.
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AKA max
Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #34 on: June 29, 2004, 09:45:06 AM »

Quote from: greyorm


[Snippage]

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.

[Snippage]

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.)


I think E quoted one of Ron's essays actually, and this wasn't the only example I cited Greyorm.  My intent on this thread is not to criticise the Forge, it is to honestly explain why from my personal perspective (and I can speak to no other) the Forge comes across badly.  On a number of threads it has seemed to me, as someone who is not by and large a Forge poster, that simple queries as to GNS concepts lead to a bewildering variety of responses with little or no common theme.

I'm not saying you're a cult or that you have no agreement, you're reading that into my words and my posts are not Marcos and his not mine (though I agree with him on some points).  All I am saying is that when members of the forum represent the theory externally they often do so in inconsistent fashion, and in my view use of this glossary presently being developed would help mitigate that and help the Forge in propagating its message to those who might benefit from it.

If you wish you can think that I'm misrepresenting, fine.  But if you do that whenever anyone from outside tries to explain why the Forge can come across less well than it should then you shouldn't be surprised when you find you don't understand the criticisms.
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AKA max
M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #35 on: June 29, 2004, 10:47:41 AM »

I miss a day, and things explode.

Quote from: Clay
Every time you use the forge specific jargon in your discussions you are sending a message to newcomers that you're in insider and they aren't.  It says that they really aren't ready to participate in the discussion.
There certainly is a degree to which jargon is exclusionary, to which it says "if you want to participate in our discussion, please learn our language." However, exclusionary and elitist aren't exactly synonymous. If I'm reading a physics text that speaks of strange quarks, or a medical text that addresses symptoms, or pharmacological data that lists contraindications, or astronomical discussions than mention parallax, I don't immediately conclude, "these people think they're better than me". I conclude that these people know what they're talking about and have developed an efficient means of conveying what they want to say to those who care enough about the subject to keep current in the field. If I don't want to take the time to understand their terminology (jargon has become such a judgmental word) then it is not terribly reasonable for me to expect them to take the time to explain it to me.

As it stands, if you don't understand a term here at The Forge, people are willing to attempt to explain it to you, to clarify it, and to point you to places where it has been discussed, defined, and/or explained before. That's hardly elitist; it's barely even exclusionary.
Quote from: Max
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.

Interestingly, when I was in law school, in the context of electing members to the student bar association I commented that I thought law school students were of above average intelligence in the main, and one of my fellow students objected and by her example persuaded me otherwise. The fact that to be there she had to complete college and take a post-graduate exam, and so persuade someone that she was smart enough to succeed in law school did not seem in her mind to overcome the fact that there are some very smart people in the world who don't get to go to college.

I agree that there are some lawyers with appalling mental abilities. The same is true for medical doctors, and I'm sure there are college professors and rocket scientists and particle physicists and genetic engineers who are less than brilliant. For anyone who cares whether I'm smart, some of my credentials http://www.mjyoung.net/misc/brag.htm">are available.

Ralph has covered the problem regarding "Force". As the definition stands in the provisional glossary, it means the prevention of narrativism by overrriding thematically-related decisions. I find that definition too limiting, and don't believe that the term is used that way outside the glossary very often. However, I would say that in such discussions (whether or not Forge terminology is in use) it is important to define terms.

Thus it would be appropriate to write that if the issue referred to narrativism as defined in Story Now and used the definition of force as found in the current Provisional Glossary at The Forge, the matter is tautologous: force is defined as that which prevents narrativist play; but if you mean something else by one of those words, the answer might be different.

--M. J. Young
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greyorm
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« Reply #36 on: June 29, 2004, 11:01:04 AM »

Max,

E's quoting the essay has nothing to do with my criticism in this thread -- it was directed specifically at the situation of "this is what happened" when such didn't happen quite that way. However, my intent isn't to is/isn't this specific example, nor is it about your point regarding the inconsistency of usage that does happen. My intent was simply to point out a common flaw I see in much of the criticism directed towards the Forge.

You want us to "deal" -- yeah, we can -- I would expect nothing less than the same from the critics, then, as well. As I said, there are valid points raised, but there are also blind spots in those points, much as you point out there are in our own arguments.

As to the cult/agreement accusation, as I said, I was venting, not accusing you specifically of labeling the Forge either way.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
greyorm
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Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #37 on: June 29, 2004, 11:24:45 AM »

Quote from: M. J. Young
...exclusionary and elitist aren't exactly synonymous...If I don't want to take the time to understand their terminology...then it is not terribly reasonable for me to expect them to take the time to explain it to me.

I agree with MJ, here. I'm involved in or have studied so many fields that have exclusive terminology, which requires study just to converse. Frex:
Quote
If you have a WRT54G, here's what you can use it for after less than an hour's work. You get all the original Linksys functions plus SSH, Wonder Shaper, L7 regexp iptables filtering, frottle, parprouted, the latest Busybox utilities, several custom modifications to DHCP and dnsmasq, a PPTP server, static DHCP address mapping, OSPF routing, external logging, as well as support for client, ad hoc, AP, and WDS wireless modes.

Catch all that?

And that's just the tech field. You know how quick I can lose someone talking about networking? Or securing a firewall? Or modifying their router settings? Let's not even talk physics, or theology, or various magickal practices that fall under the category of "the occult" -- particularly modern ceremonial magick.

Quote
As it stands, if you don't understand a term here at The Forge, people are willing to attempt to explain it to you, to clarify it, and to point you to places where it has been discussed, defined, and/or explained before. That's hardly elitist; it's barely even exclusionary.

I think the real problem here isn't the terminology, though for some reason the use of terminology seems to get the bad rap.

I think the real criticism is perhaps that people believe* they know what the theory is saying, and feel that any "help" they are given upon disagreement is an insult, a way of saying, "You don't understand the theory" and they feel written off. So the blame for this event is placed on the use of a theory-specific vocabulary, because it is perceived that everything would be clearer without all those terms clouding the issue, that it would be immediately accessible to everyone (perhaps based on the belief that it should be).

In other words, the terms are seen as an attempt at obsfucation, and it is really the obsfucation that is at issue, not the terms. The terms end up being an unwitting scape-goat. Now, I'm not just pulling this out of my ass, here. This is what I've heard from critics.

(* I say "believe" because whether they do or don't understand is a seperate issue from this, and often quite contestable between the involved parties.)
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
MR. Analytical
Member

Posts: 29


« Reply #38 on: June 29, 2004, 03:38:31 PM »

Quote from: greyorm
I think the real criticism is perhaps that people believe* they know what the theory is saying, and feel that any "help" they are given upon disagreement is an insult, a way of saying, "You don't understand the theory" and they feel written off. So the blame for this event is placed on the use of a theory-specific vocabulary, because it is perceived that everything would be clearer without all those terms clouding the issue, that it would be immediately accessible to everyone (perhaps based on the belief that it should be).


I don't think anyone has ever criticised the use of jargon per se.  so I suspect that the whole "exclusivist Vs. elitist" dichotomy is a bit of a red herring.  The value of jargon is not at issue.


The central problem lies with the mis-match in the perceived reliability of certain articles of Forgite faith.  Namely the threads and essays that people who don't get it are told to read.

Many people do read these things and think they're wrong so they come forward with a criticism of X.  If they are then told to go and read X because they've misunderstood then you're completely missing the point.  the critic's point is that X is flawed or that YOU don't understand X.  So responding to criticisms of X with "go read X" is equivalent to simply asserting X in response to criticisms of X.  Result: perceived arrogance, closed-mindedness and cultishness.


As I said in a recent RPGnet thread, the problem is that the grounds for which something becomes part of GNS canon are social in nature.  So while Forge members accept the "canonisation" of things like Beeg Horseshoe because they buy into the process of theory confirmation, other people don't buy into your methods of confirmation and they want to say "Um... Beeg horseshoe's a rant... there's no argument for it... why should I accept this?".


So yes, ultimately people who criticise the Forge don't get it but many of them would argue that the process through which one "gets it" isn't a rational or rigorous one.
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* Jonathan McCalmont *
ADGBoss
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Posts: 384


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« Reply #39 on: June 29, 2004, 06:03:58 PM »

I suppose sometimes you take a long hard look at your participation in a topic of discussion and you wince.  You wince hard because although what you said was true or at least an honest opinion, you realise that you have missed the point.

The whole thread offends me.  That is not to say that ANY individual who has participated in the thread offends me or the person who started it offends me.  Yet the thread itself does. Now I could and perhaps should just walk away since its still a free Cyber-Space afterall. Unfortunately I never walk away.  I don't want the last word, hell I never had the last word in my life.  What I do want is this thread to end and I am going to try and end it.  Notice I said the thread, not the argument.  You see the argument never really ends.  When people feel that sacred cows have been butchered and eaten they feel threatened and when they feel threatened they lash out.  Its a never ending cycle especially because our Hobby, Industry, Interest is chock full of sacred cows.  The Forge as a whole and individual posters have threatened to butcher and devour those cows.  So people feel threatened.

The Forge is a well moderated gaming Forum, the best moderated forum I have ever personally come across.  Thats strictly one opinion. It does not imply perfection. Yet its not free.  You do have to pay dues to be here, believe it or not.  Two dues in fact:

1. You have to think
2. You have to be polite

People have a very hard time paying those dues sometimes. Nowhere does it say you have to Grok... (thats Jargon for Understand) everything or anything anyone a the Forge says, let alone Agree.  You just have to think and be polite.  Lets face it, we are a My Team society.  Humans are in general. They affiliate themselves with a team or a party or an actor or a music group and they stick hard to it.  Sacred Cows.  Perfectly intelligent and kind individuals (of all faiths, genders, races, and sexual persuasions) become psychotic lunatics or patronizing (matronizing?) and condescending elitists when some one gets too close to their Sacred Cow. Thus we have this thread.

The people at the Forge are jerks and won't let me play.  No one likes you guys so tell me, why.  Why does no one like you?

Why do I have to defend my participation in this forum? Why do I have to defend occasionally agreeing with a man, Ron Edwards, on matters of Role Playing Games and the people who play them? Do you pay my bills? When it comes to some people who bill themselves as Industry insiders, workers, and whatnot, I may have payed your bills by buying your games. Some of them good and some of them not so good. Yet still I have to defend my position of participating in intellectal discourse simply because I am here.  Needless to say I resent that, quite a bit.

No one has to defend why he or she participates in the Forge.  On the other hand, no one has to defend, to me, why he or she doesn't. Evolution takes different paths and it may be that the Forge and G/N/S go the way of the Neanderthal and die out.  It may be that Role Playing, as a hobby or industry or interest, evolves along even more paths that none of us can possibly see.

All this of course ignores that fact that in the case of most people, those who participate in the Forge and those who do not. really only want to see the hobby/industry evolve and do better.  Almost all of us want that. If the hobby grows, we all benefit.  Still even that is not enough for us to look beyond our own Sacred Cows.

So I Ask: What is the point of this thread? How many more times do we have to hear the same argument, which boils down to nothing more then opinion and innuendo of the worst sort.  No one is going to love the Forge less or more.  No one is going to make a better RPG and no one is going to back off from their point of view.  So pointless that it seems to me to be counter-intellectual and counter-productive.

But if you must have an answer I will give you a frank one: There are asswholes here at the Forge just like there are assholes everywhere. If you feel unwelcome here, then if I were you I would take a long hard look
at myself before casting aspersions at the Forge or anyone in it.

If you don't, eh it's all good. Sacred Cows come first sometimes...


Sean
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Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #40 on: July 01, 2004, 12:26:19 AM »

Quote from: M. J. Young

Interestingly, when I was in law school, in the context of electing members to the student bar association I commented that I thought law school students were of above average intelligence in the main, and one of my fellow students objected and by her example persuaded me otherwise. The fact that to be there she had to complete college and take a post-graduate exam, and so persuade someone that she was smart enough to succeed in law school did not seem in her mind to overcome the fact that there are some very smart people in the world who don't get to go to college.


You're missing my point I'm afraid.  In many Western European countries the rate of college graduation is significantly greater than 50%, the current UK target (seen as insufficiently ambitious by some) is to have 50% of all college age kids passing college.  As a matter of simple common sense I struggle to believe that something the majority of people do in many countries requires above average intelligence.

Does law require more intelligence than most college degrees?  IMO definitely not.  My field of practice (international project finance) has an unusual number of people within it who have practiced outside law before entering the profession.  The single most common comment I hear from them is how easy legal study was compared to their prior studies (most often engineering but not always).  Those who initially studied fields like politics or history generally see law as having been comparable in difficulty.  UK legal education is broadly comparable to US, sufficiently so that on completion of it we can do a simple conversion exam to qualify for say the New York bar.  If college graduates who have studied other professional courses as well as law consider law to be no harder and in many cases easier than alternative courses of study I tend to believe them.  Certainly my personal experience was that law required little that was intellectually exceptional, rather demanding stamina and an ability to memorise large chunks of data.  And before you ask, yes I came top of my class yadda yadda.

So I'm really not saying that because there are some dumb grads that means the average grad isn't smarter.  I'm saying that because empirically it has been demonstrated that most people are capable of successful graduation and because everything in my experience indicates law is not an exceptionally hard course, it is simply factually wrong to assume that law grads are of above average intellect.  It may be so, but the mere fact of graduation in no way implies it is so.

Mensa and IQ tests I view frankly as having all the scientific rigour of astrology.

The reason this is relevant to this thread, and I'm sure some of you by now are wondering, is that any attempt at asserting an elite through intellect is fundamentally misplaced.  It is open to arguments such as mine above, which distract from what you are trying to achieve.  It also impliedly says "hey, maybe you're not smart enough to be in our club" which doesn't warm you to people.

The Forge is an elite, but not an elite of intelligence.  It is an elite of interest, of enthusiasm.  An elite of caring enough to want to give up personal time to improve gaming as a field of endeavour.

Anyone can join that elite, all they need is the interest.  Yet there is no stigma to not being part, it just means that you don't have that level of interest.  You guys do have stuff to be proud of and many of you do happen to be smart bunnies, but the stuff you have to be proud of is not that some of you are smart but that all of you are interested.  

And MJ, I'm not saying you're stupid, your posts demonstrate you're a smart guy.  But your qualifications nice as they are demonstrate nothing that your posts didn't already amply show.
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AKA max
MR. Analytical
Member

Posts: 29


« Reply #41 on: July 01, 2004, 05:57:33 AM »

I agree with Max here entirely.  I don't think you can infer supperior intelligence from someone being a law student.  From the lawyers I've spoken to it seems like work-rate and willingness to rote learn have more to do with being a lawyer than analytical abbility.  Indeed, being a university graduate's not that much of an indicator anymore seeing as an MA is worth what a BA was 15 years ago and expert-level is now PhD rather than MA.


I think that inferring that the people at the Forge are smarter than other people is most likely WHY threads such as this exist.

Being a member of the Forge requires a certain level of intellectual commitment to the goals of the forge and that's about it.  I have 2 post-graduate degrees and am working on a doctorate and while I'm sure I'm intelligent enough to understand the GNS writings but as to whether or not I'm willing to sit here and read through all of the threads and articles... well that's another matter entirely.

I'm intelligent enough to read the philosophy of Lacan but that doesn't mean I want to :-)

So in my opinion, all you can infer from someone being a forgite is that they were motivated enough to become one.
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* Jonathan McCalmont *
Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #42 on: July 01, 2004, 06:36:20 AM »

Quote from: MR. Analytical
So in my opinion, all you can infer from someone being a forgite is that they were motivated enough to become one.


And that I think you can take pride in, because committment to developing ideas and improving gaming as a hobby and industry is a laudable goal.
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AKA max
ADGBoss
Member

Posts: 384


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« Reply #43 on: July 01, 2004, 06:36:33 AM »

Now we have come to point where we are discussing how being educated does not make you smart.  Ok what does this have to do with hubris and elitism.

Hubris
Jargon
Elitism
Jargon

and all the rest exist on every single board that I am personally aware of. The Forge is not different in that vein. I don't speak in Jargon and I contribute just fine.  As Ron is fond of saying (well everyone is fond of saying now) its a Red Herring.

Again, take a look at yourself and your agenda. Why are you here? If this forum makes you uncomfortable then why are you here? Why is it necassary to disparage the entire community here because you are making your rightful choice not to participate. Don't like G-N-S? Ignore it. Its easily done.

Again I will say that no one here should have to defend their intelligence or their right to be here and participate to anyone.  Its an open and well moderated Forum and the door swings both ways.  



Sean
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Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #44 on: July 01, 2004, 06:47:24 AM »

ADGBoss,

I'm really not trying to attack people's intelligence, in fact I expressly recognise that I think MJ Young is a smart guy in my post, but I think it was relevant.

I was talking about why the Forge might be perceived as elitist, which is the subject in part of this thread.  MJ's post provided a useful example of one way in which I think that perception may arise, which is why the education/intelligence thing was I think relevant.  Any assertion that this is an elite place because people here is smarter is I think an error which will get in the way of dissemination of your ideas, that is why it matters and is worth discussing.  If you read through the relevant posts I think each is tied to the topic of perceptions of Forge elitism fairly clearly.

I'm not sure if the why are you here is directed generally or to me and Mr Analytical.  If to me, I honestly don't think I have disparaged the community, I said you had much to be proud of and I have recommended more than one person on rpg.net to come here.

As for elitism and jargon being everywhere, obviously true.  But despite that truth not everywhere is accused of elitism or using unnecessary jargon.  The Forge sometimes is and why that is so is the subject of this thread.  If you should care is I think another question, my answer would probably be no but if any of you do exploring how those perceptions may arise does seem to me of some value.
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AKA max
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