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Author Topic: Explore novel ideas rather than rush to dismiss question  (Read 15034 times)
Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« on: September 16, 2004, 08:32:56 PM »

This is an issue that invite all the Forge-posters to contribute.

This issue pertains to my experiences on the GNS boards, so I am uncertain how it would relate to the other boards.

A couple of times I have tried posting a new idea that I was having trouble working through.  In my difficulties I thought it would be useful to tap into the vast throbbing grey matter things of the posters on the boards to provide me with some additional computing power.  (I am not speaking of threads where I am trying to prove an idea, but threads where I am attempting to "brainstorm" or explore an idea to see if it leads anywhere fruitful.)  In stead I got a fair amount of you're wasting your time thinking this way.  I've seen this happen a couple of other posters as well.

Here are my questions/issues -

Given that these are an open and public fora, should I just accept that given human nature this will always happen and that I should just resign myself to this as inevitable?

Should I expect, as a matter of human nature and public arenas, that such large scale "brainstorming" or raw idea exploration threads don't work.  IOW in such circumstances is everyone, including myself, better served exploring novel ideas via PM and leaving the public boards more for the "testing of ideas and/or theories"?

Is there any mileage to be had in designating a thread not for criticism (which is a vital and necessary process) but for, almost but not quite, free association or the raw exploring (not testing or proving) of an idea?

I know there have been times when I have sorely needed fresh input when working on a train of thought and what I needed was help, not people telling me the idea can't work.  That will come later when or IF the idea bears some fruit.  I know recently via PMs, I have made more strides in playing with my basic, raw ideas than in the public forums.  Is that just the nature of the beast?  Are public forums doomed to be poor places to toy with ideas to see if they flower or grow before they are buried under the weight of inertia?

This is not meant to be a complaint on any level, nor is this a veiled attempt to condemn anyone at all - I am looking for guidance for those times when anyone is attempting to present novel ideas for shared examination (not criticism) and perhaps to spark a little debate.
   
Thank you everyone for your considered responses!
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
greedo1379
Member

Posts: 123


« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2004, 09:01:13 PM »

I think (and I don't know but just a thought) that maybe you phrasing your questions poorly.  If you end something with "What do you think?" you will get responses like "I think this is a bad idea that won't work."  If you instead say "I am going to do this; what do you think is the best way to do it?" you will still get bad responses (just the nature of the beast) but hopefully folks will have a better idea of what you're looking for and better be able to provide useful help.

You may, of course, already do this in which case nevermind. :)
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2004, 09:27:22 PM »

To amplify a bit, perhaps, there is a degree to which it is inevitable on an open forum that you're going to get some discouraging responses. You just have to take them as "this person doesn't think this idea is going to go anywhere" and focus on such responses as entertain possibilities.

After all, sometimes someone will post something that you've already turned over in your head with no results and so abandoned as a useless direction. If someone were to bring it up, you would think that it's useless to pursue that, as it got you nowhere. You might be wrong, but if they asked your opinion (which they did), that's your opinion--and it's not really a worthless opinion, because you have thought about that very aspect before, and got nowhere with it. So you say, "I can't see this going anywhere." Someone else comes along and tries to bring things out of it, and maybe you've already covered that ground, too, or maybe you haven't--but in any case, you can only respond from what you know, and sometimes what you know is "I've been down that road, and was lost for days before I realized it didn't go anywhere." And sometimes that's wrong--you just didn't find where it goes.

So it's something to accept as inevitable, and to work around.

As they say, your mileage may vary.

--M. J. Young
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Valamir
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2004, 04:01:18 AM »

I think Greedo has it right (poor Greedo, murdered by the dastardly Han Solo and now the world will never know the truth)

If you're looking for free association brainstorming, then ask for free association brainstorming.  Or, even better, ask specifically for the sort of angle you are looking for feedback on.  

I think this board can step up to the plate for you if they know exactly what you want out of a thread.
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komradebob
Member

Posts: 462


« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2004, 06:13:04 AM »

Stick to the RPG Theory forum.
 When you throw out an idea there people are really supportive, tend to offer really thought out opinions and ideas, point out aspects you might not have considered, and generally are really helpful even if they disagree with you. Discussions tend to be really freewheeling, and engaging.  ( There are of course exceptions...)

The GNS forum is a sharktank.
No, really. I'm not sure why, but the discussions on the GNS forum seem to get really heated really quickly. Which is sort of a shame, because the whole gns/big model thingie is really sort of interesting. But I swear, discussing it is like getting into a conversation with a stranger about politics or religion...

k-Bob
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Robert Earley-Clark

currently developing:The Village Game:Family storytelling with toys
TonyLB
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2004, 07:07:22 AM »

I think that may be due to two factors:  

First, the GNS forum has a large amount of terminology which has been hashed out over a long period of time. These terms are the tools that people use to extend the model further.  If you misuse the terms you are (for all intents and purposes) coming into their workshop and banging on nails with a screwdriver.  They're going to tell you "NO!  That is not what a screwdriver is for!" rather than trying to help you explore the potential of hammering with that particular tool.

Second, the GNS forum has a specific goal of exploring the model and trying to create new tools and techniques of exploration.  When you post there people have (IMHO) a right to expect that you're addressing that goal.  If they can't see how you're addressing that goal they will ask that you clarify.  If you had no intention of addressing that goal then they're request for clarification can easily come across as an attack.
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ffilz
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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2004, 07:35:10 AM »

Quote

First, the GNS forum has a large amount of terminology which has been hashed out over a long period of time. These terms are the tools that people use to extend the model further. If you misuse the terms you are (for all intents and purposes) coming into their workshop and banging on nails with a screwdriver. They're going to tell you "NO! That is not what a screwdriver is for!" rather than trying to help you explore the potential of hammering with that particular tool.

This is one of the problems I have with the Forge. GNS sounds really intresting, but how do I learn it? It almost seems like two GNS forums would be useful. One would be the GNS research lab, where people who want to expand on GNS would hang out. The other would be GNS 101 which is a classroom setting where people are invited to explore the the idea in their own terms, with friendly guidance from the professor who can point out "yea, that's sort of what it is, we call that bit "gamism", now, have you considered what happens when the player tries to twist the rules to his advantage?"

A research lab is really cool, but if it never produces papers, and never fosters education, the knowledge is wasted.

Frank
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Frank Filz
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2004, 07:38:57 AM »

Hi Jay,

The issue is simple and specific to you. The well-meaning replies you've received are overlooking it, which is annoying to me because it is a feature in the recent GNS sticky. And it's a key feature.

Here's the issue: we do not know anything about your role-playing. No one knows what games you have played in the past. No one knows what games you play now, if any. No one knows with whom, what their age range is, or in what context. You are a cipher, posting about ideas rooted in no concrete context.

I've advised you about this a couple of times, to post in Actual Play or at least to disclose experiences and concrete real-life examples as a context for your GNS posts. To date, you haven't acted on this advice. I speak from great and thorough experience across seven years of constant interactions in this medium: by not doing so, you reduce any abstract or concept-based contributions to trivia.

I'm pretty serious about this. I consider your reluctance to disclose this information to be a very strange and possibly disturbing thing. It might be only that you haven't seen its relevance and hence haven't made the effort, it might be fear that people might marginalize you based on your preferred mode or system of play, or it might be shame, perhaps, that you don't play. It could be something else. I don't know.

But I can tell you this: without this perspective on our parts, your posts might as well have "not important" stamped on them in red letters. No matter how good or potentially fruitful your thoughts seem to you, unless they are presented by a role-player to other role-players, with all of us sharing in the knowledge of one another's experiences and situations of play, then they are not good thoughts. They are disconnected musings.

To everyone, it's very nice that you guys are posting helpful and general advice about posting. That's great. But this is not a "find your feet" situation from a new poster. This is someone who posts extensively and intensively, but who represents a specific, identifiable problem given the purposes of that forum and the site in general. This is not a time for gentle reassurance, but for tough love.

Best,
Ron
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ErrathofKosh
Member

Posts: 190

Lest Darkness Fall.


« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2004, 07:59:17 AM »

Hmmm....

Well, that was an enlightening post for me. (But now that I go back and reread the sticky I can see that it shouldn't have been...)  I've had similiar issues, though not to the extent that I think Jay is trying to address.

I've been under the (false) impression that Actual Play is for diagnosing dysfunction or allowing players to share their more glorious adventures.  While I read these posts, I thought that I fit neither category.  My experiences are relatively functional and I don't usually share them unless it's with my gaming group.  I had never before thought about using those experiences to "introduce" myself, so to speak.

That all being said, I'm heading over there right this instant....

Thanks Ron.

Cheers
Jonathan
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Cheers,
Jonathan
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2004, 08:06:41 AM »

Hello,

I've said it many times: Actual Play is the single most important forum on this website.

The goal of the Forge is one single thing: to facilitate the publication of creator-owned role-playing games.

The means for this goal are many, including (in the case of the GNS forum) clarifying our understanding of role-playing per se.

The material for these means, all of them, is actual play. Past or present, fun or not fun, glamorous or unglamorous, complicated or simple, long-term or short-term, anything at all.

Without the material, no means. Without the means, no fulfillment of the goal. No good.

Clinton and I are wholly dedicated to the ideas I'm presenting in this post.

Best,
Ron
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ffilz
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Posts: 468


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« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2004, 08:27:34 AM »

I guess I'm confused and perhaps not getting it. I'm not sure why I'm not clicking with this site, but I've tried posting in Actual Play, and got not very helpful advice in one thread, and got told to take it to RPG Theory in another thread.

I know one of my troubles is forumulating the right questions. But if I don't have the foggiest idea of what questions to ask, how do I begin to formulate the right ones?

I see real useful theory and discussion here,  but I just don't understand how to get into it.

Frank
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Frank Filz
xiombarg
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Posts: 1183


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« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2004, 10:10:28 AM »

Quote from: ffilz
I guess I'm confused and perhaps not getting it. I'm not sure why I'm not clicking with this site, but I've tried posting in Actual Play, and got not very helpful advice in one thread, and got told to take it to RPG Theory in another thread.

One thing you gotta understand about Actual Play: Sometimes you're not going to get much of a response. The post is just raw data you can refer to in other posts. This is okay. This doesn't mean people aren't reading it and it's not contributing to their understanding of roleplaying.

I read a lot more threads than I post to, and I'm a pretty prolific poster, if I do say so myself. This is especially true in Actual Play, which often has a more cumulative effect, in that reading a lot of posts means more than responding to a single one.
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
ffilz
Member

Posts: 468


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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2004, 10:44:27 AM »

But I kind of get this feeling that you're supposed to get your feet wet in Actual Play before you can venture into GNS. I guess that's fine (if GNS is the research lab and Actual Play is the classroom from my earlier analogy). But when my posts in Actual Play don't help me move forward, I'm not sure how to get involved in the thought provoking discussion.

One problem I have right now is the lack of an active playgroup, so my only source of Actual Play examples is to dredge back in history (I have posted some from my few recent play examples). At this point, without an active play group, I'm looking for ways that I can get one of the things I get out of running a game, and that is the thought process that goes through setting up and resolving play situations. Maybe this isn't the right place for that kind of thought exercise, but it looks like a good place to me, but if I'm wrong, well, tell me so (and if so, if you have a suggestion for a place that is more viable, I'd appreciate the pointers).

Frank
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Frank Filz
xiombarg
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2004, 11:10:39 AM »

Quote from: ffilz
But I kind of get this feeling that you're supposed to get your feet wet in Actual Play before you can venture into GNS. I guess that's fine (if GNS is the research lab and Actual Play is the classroom from my earlier analogy). But when my posts in Actual Play don't help me move forward, I'm not sure how to get involved in the thought provoking discussion.
What are you trying to get out of GNS? I think you're making things hard for yourself. The important thing in any Forge forum is a concrete purpose to a thread, and roleplaying experience to fall back on in explaining your ideas.

Are you sure what you want can't be handled in RPG Theory just as easily?

Quote
One problem I have right now is the lack of an active playgroup, so my only source of Actual Play examples is to dredge back in history (I have posted some from my few recent play examples). At this point, without an active play group, I'm looking for ways that I can get one of the things I get out of running a game, and that is the thought process that goes through setting up and resolving play situations. Maybe this isn't the right place for that kind of thought exercise, but it looks like a good place to me, but if I'm wrong, well, tell me so (and if so, if you have a suggestion for a place that is more viable, I'd appreciate the pointers).
Old Actual Play is good Actual Play. Especially if it sticks out in your memory in any way.

I would think what you're describing would make fine threads for Actual Play or RPG Theory.
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2004, 11:22:33 AM »

Hello,

Frank, work with me here for a minute.

1. It's slow. It's very slow. The site can't snap its fingers and provide A#1 perfect feedback for you or any one person. You have entered a community, and as with any real social community, it will take a while for you to find your "place" and the spheres of interest in which you function best.

Since the Forge is dramatically and deliberately separate from the widespread "internet dialogue culture," the new arrival is often surprised. He or she says, "I am me, I am here, here is my issue, what do you say," and gets exactly the same response as in one's first year in college: a scattered amount of tentative individual contacts in the middle of a certain frightening overall indifference.

It takes time for those individual contacts to grow into a support network. It takes time to decide which forums are one's favored sphere of activity, and with whom, and about what. It isn't a place where any and every thread is an opportunity to whip out an opinion. It's a community in which you build your social role, your intellectual role, and your own agenda about what you need to get out of it.

2. Actual Play is the touchpoint for all the interactions with others which help us all relate to one another as people and fellow practitioners. No one is condemned for "not playing the right game." No one's play-preferences are held as the "wrong ways." Whatever you present, whatever situation it's embedded in, we say, "OK, how did it go, what did you do, what worked and what didn't."

It is also dedicated to the idea that role-playing is not a shameful, fetish activity which is hidden in the closet, but rather an activity worth celebrating even at its most straightforward (Jonathan [Errath], this means you). Simply posting at all in this forum transforms the person into a public and no-shame practitioner, rather than an apologetic deviant.

3. The Forge represents not only the immediate interactions and services that you can see before your eyes, but also a history of these things.

Here's a neat exercise. You should pick a month from a couple of years ago, and read a bunch of posts across the forums for that month alone. Who was here? How did they interact? What got concluded? Can you see the impact of that month on the current postings of the people who were involved back then?

People who've been here for a while recognize this simply because they've lived through it. People who've just arrived don't necessarily understand that the community and the ideas and the recommendations evolve through this process, and that the instant question-answer of one piddly thread exchange is not actually where the real value comes in. I mean, I hope that some value is possible there, but in some cases, it isn't going to start strong.

The single most important touchstone for any kind of historical review at the Forge is represented by the threads called the Infamous Five, which is why they are sticky'd in this forum.

So, Frank, I'm saying that you're welcome here. You'll do fine. But your current measure of success (how many responses do I get? for instance) isn't really very meaningful.

You're in a difficult position, too - Actual Play, as I say, is the most powerful starting point, and you aren't engaged in any. You also seem to have a certain conundrum going on in terms of why you play (your thread of that title really flailed). So sure, of course you're feeling all at sea - you are all at sea. That's going to make all of the issues I'm posting about here even more tentative for you. It's going to take time.

Best,
Ron
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