*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
May 16, 2022, 11:07:28 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 84 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: 1 [2] 3
Print
Author Topic: Jargon  (Read 10148 times)
John Kim
Member

Posts: 1805


WWW
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2004, 07:41:51 PM »

Quote from: Jaik
Ever play in a game where the GM and one of the players were dating/married?  Ever notice how that changed things?  Even if there wasn't rampant favoritism, things were off a little.  Nowhere else did I find advice that aknowledged this without labeling it as bad or telling you to suck it up.  Placing it into system, and with system itself taking its place under social contract, makes it discussable.  It says 'THIS is how things work.  You can spend all the time you want talking about the way things should work or should be, but you're playing with people, so things will be more like THIS.'

Can you explain to me why labelling it as the word "system" is necessary for discussion?  Because personally, I've discussed this issue with plenty of gamers without using that label.  

Quote from: Mike Holmes
We need a term for this definition.

And even if we were to use something like System Component, it would still get mistaken for something else. We'd have to call it Epistemological Throughput Methodology or something. And even then somebody would complain that the parts of the phrase were incorrect. So then what are we left with to construct our dialectic? We could make up a word. How about Syrmestulum? People would then argue about what sounded better.

Or we can just put up a sign at the front gate saying "watch out for Jargon" and avoid all of that. Guess which I'm for?

Let me get this straight.  You point out that there will never be unanimous agreement on what term fits best -- which is completely correct.  However, from here you take the extreme claim that you should ignore everyone else's opinion and use whatever terms you like, since none of them are going to be unanimously accepted.  

Needless to say, I completely disagree.  There can and should be arguments over what term to use, so that people can generally agree on common terms -- rather than everyone just using whatever term they like while ignoring everyone else's opinion.  Just saying "watch out for jargon" and ignoring others is lousy communication.  

Now, this is not to say that using "System" for a term is wrong -- but your argument for it is absurd.  I don't think we need formal votes or anything to decide on a term.  However, I do think one should be thoughtful about what other people think when one decides on what term to use.  Moreover, just because a term has been used in the past one way doesn't mean that it is written in stone.
Logged

- John
Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2004, 03:54:58 AM »

(double post)
Logged

"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2004, 03:56:34 AM »

There's a difference between jargon and terminology, IMHO.

(these are MY definitions, by the way)

Terminology invents new words to describe things that have not been described before, in order to make their meanings more clear for everyone involved.

Jargon invents new words to describe things that have been described before, or uses old terms to describe things that haven't been described before, and insulates the subculture that uses them.

I have no problem with Terminology.  I have a problem with Jargon.
Logged

"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
Christopher Weeks
Member

Posts: 683


« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2004, 04:33:10 AM »

OK, well I completely disagree with Vaxalon's newest indictment of jargon at all -- both the meaning and the value.  I just don' tt

Quote from: Mike Holmes
that definition for us would not be useful.  Now, to avoid people conflating the version of the definition that we use here, we could write System Component refering to the five components from which the term comes from (as MJ outlined). Would that satisfy you? Because we need the definition as presented for discussing the topic. That is, whether or not it matches anyone else's is not important. We need a term for this definition.


I absolutely agree that we need a term for what we call system.  I hope I didn't indicate anything else.  And I think that "system components" would probably be worse because we'd have all the same issues of conflation with a layer of removal acting as obfuscation.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
And even if we were to use something like System Component, it would still get mistaken for something else. We'd have to call it Epistemological Throughput Methodology or something. And even then somebody would complain that the parts of the phrase were incorrect. So then what are we left with to construct our dialectic? We could make up a word. How about Syrmestulum? People would then argue about what sounded better.


Syrmestulum made me laugh.  But you're presenting a false dichotomy (trichotomy?) and I'm not willing to bite.  There is lots of middle ground between taking a common piece of jargon from the gaming population at large and applying a significantly different -- but not so different that it's obvious, meaning and generating silly made-up words.  And the fact that ETM is both cumbersom and open to significant argument doesn't mean that we couldn't come up with something better.

In many ways, system is good for that term because it is describing a system -- the system for adopting truth in the SIS.  What about "adoption system," or "SIS System," or "Shared Space Synchronization System," or ...OK, I'm starting to be silly.  But now that I'm thinking along these lines, I do actually think that the reason system as we're using it here is a bad term is precisely because dictionary system is a big, broad term.  You don't talk about the car's system, you talk about automatic braking systems and power train systems and hydraulic transmission systems and cooling systems.  

Ralph is right on a very significant point.  The reason that system works among all those gamers (and I have actually talked about how "their system" works when discussing new games for a long time) is precisely because it doesn't much matter if we get the exact definition right.  When you use a broadly-encompassing term like system, you should have flex to accomodate that way.  And you're right that that's not what we need here for the "system" discussion and analysis.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Or we can just put up a sign at the front gate saying "watch out for Jargon" and avoid all of that. Guess which I'm for?


I think we need to do that too.  And the glossary is a great first step (though I'm thinking that a dynamic tool that could reflect changes and group insight with a bit more meat would be more or equally useful).  But what's so wrong with finding good jargon instead of whatever happens to be first suggested?

Chris
Logged
Rob Carriere
Member

Posts: 187


« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2004, 04:48:31 AM »

Vaxalon,
I understand the distinction you're making, but in many cases it is going to be less clear-cut than that. As understanding of a concept grows, people realize that the old definitions no longer quite work and the words and the definitions mutate.

This sort of stuff is not good, but it is inevitable. You cannot pre-plan the brilliant insight you will have next month nor the impact it will have on the concepts you use.

Also, I think a lot of the time, and most especially with the word system, the perception of jargon gets skewed by the depth of the associated insight. The lumpley principle is a very different way of looking at system than rules+(possibly houserules)+(possibly setting). True. But in casual conversation the lumpley principle is quite compatible with the `classical' meanings of system. As an experiment, try using the word that way for a while--without telling anyone--and count how many times you run into semantics trouble. I did this for a couple of months myself and the answer was `not once.'

SR
"Changing horses into giraffes a specialty"
--
Logged
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2004, 06:18:00 AM »

Why, John, you act as if you aren't complicit in accepting the definition of System. I've never once heard you say that it was problematic to adopt the term.

Suddenly this is just Mike making everyone else bow to his will? I personally am making everyone accept my definition of the term "System"? Well, if you're going to lay blame, it was actually Mr. Edwards and Mr. Baker (AKA Lumpley) who created this definition in concert. So blame them for forcing their hegemony on others. Yes, I was complicit in it. But then again, so were you, John.

MJ cleared all of this up above with his history of how the term came about. If you were there for it, then you understand that when we use "system" we're using it in the context of Ron's 5 Elements.

So, then this means that what Chris is saying is that he only objects to it beirg presented without that context. That if you say System, and don't refer to the history behind the specific definition, that you risk it being problematic. Well, first, I'd say that usually there is context behind these things. It might be subtle, but in a discussion of, say, the five elements itself, it should be pretty obvious that we're using the local definition. And, again, we do warn people that we use a lot of local definitions here. The other solution is to write a ton more than we do explaining the context of every term every time we use it. (Hmmm. What if Clinton put in a button that put a little sylized "F" into the text next to any term you wanted to use that would mean "Hey, I'm using this in the Forge context, so don't assume it means what you've heard elsewhere?") Jargon is a shorthand that facilitates discussion between those who understand it. Not a tool that I, for one, want to just give up on.

But moreover, I'm not at all against better terms. What I am against, however, is a constant evaluation of terms. That is, once a term has been defined, unless it's changed immediately (like in the thread in which it's created), I don't advocate changing that term just because of contextual problems. Why, if there might be better? Because it sets a terrible precdedent where terms change every single day. How do you decide if a term has been successfully changed? What if two camps (or more) start using different terms to describe the same thing? Eventually what you have is a morass of terms that nobody can understand at all. For terms to have any use, they have to have a generally accepted meaning in the community that uses them.

Better to accept that the people who make terms up are human, and don't always do the best job, and to stick with those terms for the most part.

Now, does that mean that a term can never change? Nope, happens all the time when compelling reasons are presented. For instance "premise" was so problematic that Ron was forced to change it to Creative Agenda. Note how the latter term was selected precisely for it's inability to be mistaken for something else in common use outside of the theory (as opposed to Premise).

So, the thing to do here, if you find the use of System to be problematic, is to state your case for a renaming, and make it happen. I could see that working in the case of System, for instance. Maybe. Depending.

In any case, simply saying that jargon is bad isn't going to do anything. We all understand implicitly the issues involved, but still need terms.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
xiombarg
Member

Posts: 1183


WWW
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2004, 07:12:28 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Why, John, you act as if you aren't complicit in accepting the definition of System. I've never once heard you say that it was problematic to adopt the term.

I'd like to mention, as an aside, that a lot of the time when I see people using this term in the sense it is used around here, they do what Mike is doing above -- they capitalize it.

Now, perhaps it's just me, but when I see that, it clues me that it's not "system" like "I have a system for eating pears" or "I like the Cyberpunk 2020 system", but something else.

So, perhaps, it's a simple matter to cut through this particular issue. When you use the word System in the sense it's used at the Forge, capitalize it. This way we can keep using the term as-is without calling it "Sybollium" or something, but there's still a resonable indication that it's actually a jargon term, just like when, writing an RPG, you might say something like "every character has certain Traits" as opposed to "every character has certain traits" (i.e. in the former case, it's supposed to be a "game term" unique to the game, just as System is a term unique to the Forge).

Perhaps I'm a simpleton, but it seems to be that adopting a simple capitalization scheme like this one whenever one is using a term that is ambiguous with "common usage" (like System) is a good compromise between what Ron calls Outlook #1 and Outlook #2. And the more people who adopt such a convention the clearer it will be. Plus, it's not terribly onerous as such conventions go.
Logged

love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
ADGBoss
Member

Posts: 384


WWW
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2004, 08:46:26 AM »

Quote from: Vaxalon
Quote from: Valamir

The fact that horses come in fifteen different colors, doesn't make your giraffe a horse, and when you guys are all riding around on your giraffes, I feel really funny riding in on my horse.


For what it's worth we are not talking about a specific riding animal but your analogy struck me as very interesting.  To move it further or hijack it :) One way of looking at it is this: When some or most people say "riding animal" they think - Horse. So an assumption is made that anone riding into town will do so on a horse, because most people do in fact ride horses.  What I think goes on here at the Forge is akin to saying "Hey, you can ride Llamas, Giraffes, Ostriches, and all sorts of animals, beside horses."  So when we sa riding animal, the definition may seem alien to anyone who has never rode or tried to ride a Llama.

<shrug>


As always just my 2 Lunars.


Sean
Logged

Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2004, 09:02:44 AM »

Well, I don't agree with that extension of the analogy, but my grumbling isn't getting me anywhere so I'm going to cut it out.

I'm going to start a new thread, in ... Theory?  About what BIG-S System means, because I still don't get it.
Logged

"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
xiombarg
Member

Posts: 1183


WWW
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2004, 09:05:37 AM »

Quote from: Vaxalon
I'm going to start a new thread, in ... Theory?  About what BIG-S System means, because I still don't get it.

Okay, I have to comment on this: That is a very different issue than what you brought up. Jargon isn't bad because you don't understand it -- by definition, anyone new isn't going to understand the jargon. Condemning it on those grounds seems... odd to me. But I'll keep an eye out for the new thread.

Theory or GNS Discussion would be the right place for it, methinks.
Logged

love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
John Kim
Member

Posts: 1805


WWW
« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2004, 09:08:57 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Why, John, you act as if you aren't complicit in accepting the definition of System. I've never once heard you say that it was problematic to adopt the term.

Suddenly this is just Mike making everyone else bow to his will?

Sorry, I didn't mean to single out you in this.  I disagree with your argument for jargon, but I agree that I am complicit for jargon in general.  I was actually surprised at how people were considering System (capitalized) in recent threads like http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=12012">Setting as a Part of System (long) and http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=12098">Player Ignorance, Lumpley Principle, and Setting.  

I think in part this comes from not using System as a term much in actual play discussions.  In practice, clear definitions come more from having a lot of examples -- rather than having a formal definition which relates it to other jargon.  For example, I would not have considered whether the GM and a player have a relationship to be a part of System.  

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Now, does that mean that a term can never change? Nope, happens all the time when compelling reasons are presented. For instance "premise" was so problematic that Ron was forced to change it to Creative Agenda. Note how the latter term was selected precisely for it's inability to be mistaken for something else in common use outside of the theory (as opposed to Premise).

So, the thing to do here, if you find the use of System to be problematic, is to state your case for a renaming, and make it happen. I could see that working in the case of System, for instance. Maybe. Depending.

Here I agree with Mike.  To Vaxalon: criticism of jargon is appropriate for Site Discussion.  However, if you want things to change, you should participate in discussions and respond to usage as it happens -- ideally with suggestions for better usage.
Logged

- John
Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #26 on: July 27, 2004, 09:32:03 AM »

Quote from: xiombarg
That is a very different issue than what you brought up. Jargon isn't bad because you don't understand it -- by definition, anyone new isn't going to understand the jargon.


Yes, it's a different issue, and that's why I'm starting a new thread.
Logged

"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2004, 07:29:28 PM »

Quote from: Vaxalon
Quote from: Valamir
System is used to mean alot of things out there.  Some use it to refer to a published game including everything between the covers of the book(s).  Others limit it only to mechanics as distinct from setting.  Some will allow houserules to be included so that they'd say "we're using the Hero system" even if they'd made some pretty radical changes that other Hero system users would not accept.


Noone anywhere else but here uses it even REMOTELY like it's used here.

It might surprise you that I disagree with that statement. We actually use the word "system" very much as it is used by everyone else in the gaming hobby. It's just that we've thought about it more, and realized things about that usage that most people miss.

I'm sure you'll grant me that most people use "system" to mean, roughly, "what rules do you use to play?"

Now, most people will immediately answer that question with "D20" or "GURPS" or something like that; but if pressed, they'll give you more--"D20 Modern" or "GURPS Fantasy" (which are different systems, distinguishable from the first answers). Pressed further, they'll admit that they don't use certain rules, and that they have a few house rules that they use on their own. So they have a "system" by which they run their games which is based on a particular published game, but which is modified by other elements. They'll go that far with you, and agree that they use a home-rules modified version of a published game as their "system".

What we've recognized is that ultimately you have a "system" by which you run your games which is fundamentally based on interactions and negotiations between players at the table who through defined social relationships and functions are contributing to a shared imaginary space. That "system" may be based on a particular published game and modified by other elements, but what's actually being used to "run the game" is this social interaction.

That is, we still recognize that people are using a home-rules modified version of a published game, but we see one more layer, one critical component, between the rules in the book and the events in the game. That's the negotiated interactions of the players, which work by the system, which apportions credibility between them.

When someone picks up D20, there are some poorly implied concepts of distribution of credibility which get interpreted by the players, and further modified by their house rules, all through their interpersonal negotiations, to create the "sytem" they actually use in play. It contains rules from the books, overtly agreed house rules, and tacitly or covertly agreed house rules, as well as specific techniques which are used in play.

So in one sense you're playing d20, or Multiverser, or Sorcerer, or GURPS, and that is your "system"--or at least, part of it. In a very real sense, though, none of those can be the system you use (and I include my own game and Ron's on the list, because I'm not slamming any game here) because none of them really completely defines how you play your game. They only stand as guidebooks for how to do it--like a book on rock climbing can tell you a great deal about how to handle cliff faces in general, but you still have to apply those techniques your way when you come to the rock and start your climb. The system you use to play your game is very like the steps you take in climbing a particular mountain. The book can tell you how to handle different problems you'll face, but you'll make your own decisions on how to do it when you get there.

Maybe this would be better in the new thread (which I have not yet seen); but there's a lot to get through tonight, so I'm going to go ahead and post this here, and perhaps reference it from there.

I hope it helps.

Oh, and Mike: I'm on your side.

--M. J. Young
Logged

Vaxalon
Member

Posts: 1619


« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2004, 08:36:18 PM »

There's a duality here that seems to be conflated.

On the one hand, there's system-as-written and system-as-played.  Obviously, oftentimes, there are rules in SaW that do not show up in SaP.  These are the ones that are ignored, discarded, or just plain forgotten.  Therefore, SaP does not contain SaW every time.  

Likewise, obviously, there are rules in SaP that don't show up in SaW.  These are the house rules, the table conventions, the social contract if you want to include it.  So clearly SaW doesn't contain SaP either.
Logged

"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
xiombarg
Member

Posts: 1183


WWW
« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2004, 06:08:00 AM »

Quote from: Vaxalon
Likewise, obviously, there are rules in SaP that don't show up in SaW.  These are the house rules, the table conventions, the social contract if you want to include it.  So clearly SaW doesn't contain SaP either.

Right. And with the Forge's emphasis on actual play, System tends to refer to  "SaP".
Logged

love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
Pages: 1 [2] 3
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!