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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 83 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Explore novel ideas rather than rush to dismiss question  (Read 15033 times)
clehrich
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Posts: 1557


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« Reply #30 on: September 26, 2004, 11:44:55 PM »

Sean,

I think that rather depends on what you mean by "theoretically informed."

Do I think that Jay knows a hell of a lot about different kinds of theory and is trying to do something with it to completely reformulate the Big Model on new grounds?  No.  I do have some vague leanings in that direction, as you probably know, but I rather doubt that's Jay's point.

If you ask me, I think Jay is convinced that there is a serious structural flaw in the definition of Sim, and that this flaw will have major repercussions up and down the Big Model.  I think he believes there is long-term value in the Big Model, and would like to fix it.  I think he would like to discuss this with other people on the Forge who care about the Big Model.  And I think he's frustrated at the moment, because some of those he thinks should be most receptive appear uninterested in even the notion of the kind of project he's doing.

Could Jay be a lot clearer in his writing and his posts?  Yes.  Will Actual Play necessarily help?  No, though it might.  Is Jay right to be frustrated?  I'm not entirely sure, but this thread is sure shaking out some reasons he might feel that way.

All I meant about an Actual Play post was this: if the point of Jay's project with Sim is to examine how the model works, then posting some Actual Play isn't going to help him.  It may, however, help others.  But there seems to be this notion around here that if Jay posts some Actual Play he is going to learn something about his theoretical project.  I think this is almost by definition not going to happen.  This is much less complicated than you seem to think.
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Chris Lehrich
Bill Cook
Member

Posts: 501


« Reply #31 on: September 27, 2004, 12:45:05 AM »

I know sometimes I just want to dish. That's a welcome secondary benefit to posting on a forum: a feeling of community.

But let me not be a Jay apologist. We all have that moment of development in membership, regardless of the group, where we reckon our motives to the group's purpose. It's appropriate that direction be provided to members who are out of sync.

There's been some noise in the GNS forum, lately, that's caused me to steer clear of it. It's kind of weird, actually. While Gencon was going on, there were a flurry of threads that re-interpreted GNS; I thought they were all somewhat interesting and rather sweeping. And it's no secret that some members are more constructive in their theorizing, whereas others are happily . . . fiddly. Still others wrongly personalize and make manic forays, seeking contention. (IMO.)

Anyway, when Ron turned his eye back, he seemed to clap his hands and all the broomstick men stopped their bucket brigade. And I haven't heard mention of terms like Participationism or Verisimilitude or What If Play since then; you also don't see thread titles like Defining Sim (Really, This Time).

If re-defining GNS or its emphasis outside Big Model context are not welcome, restructuring the forum may be appropriate. The Big Model is a big draw to the Forge and underpins its value in many ways; there'll always be newcomers who will want to share their reactions and request support for their learning process. (I do not suggest that Jay is in this category.) But once advancement cannot rise above staring at one's navel, you could say it's time to call it finished. Or at least, plateaued.

Speaking as someone who's read the essays and made an effort to play a wider variety of systems according to design intent, I know I got what I came for. At some point, you stop worrying if your focus or what your system supports is G, N or S (whatever S really means), and what (if anything) that says about you, as a person (or gamers or the world, in general), and you're carried away by the pleasure of invested play your new awareness affords.
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Bill Cook
Member

Posts: 501


« Reply #32 on: September 27, 2004, 01:01:18 AM »

Quote from: clehrich
All I meant about an Actual Play post was this: if the point of Jay's project with Sim is to examine how the model works, then posting some Actual Play isn't going to help him. It may, however, help others.


Exactly. Then they'll be in a better position to help. So it can, ultimately, help him.

I guess it's a process of getting on the same page. Then he can cleanly cite any purported Big Model fissure, and his issue and purpose will be unmistakable.
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Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #33 on: September 27, 2004, 01:34:16 AM »

Thanks everyone,

This has been both a frustrating and fascinating thread to both read and participate in.

There are a number of issues going on, but clearly the person who has very ably represented my issues here has been Chris in his postings.  He has effectively labeled both what I am trying to do, and my failings.

Quote from: clehrich
Currently, the onus is on Jay to explain what he wants the tool to do. But I think what he's asking in this thread is whether others are willing to help him clarify this through relatively abstract discussion. The point being that he's pretty sure there's a problem, but he's having some trouble working out exactly what it is, and he wants our assistance in thinking it through.


That is exactly the reason I had written my original post for.  I was having problems with the current Sim paradigm, and I was (and still am) having troubles articulating exactly just what those problems were.  So I would go fishing.  There were two general problems with the fishing expeditions.  When these threads were identified with Sim, the old paradigm would be trotted out and the exploration of the new idea would suffocate.  The solution was to abstract the whole model as a whole and dissect its working and then project forward into the CA’s.  This would lead to problem two, people would not really understand what I was trying to do, mea culpa, and respond negatively.  So I wrote my post here on how to improve the success of my (idea) fishing expeditions.  I asked whether I was wasting my time using this particular media (public forums), and if not, how to improve the process generally.

Upon reflection I can see that what I am doing is paradigm breaking.  This is exactly why I am both having troubles discussing the problems with the model using model terminology, and why people are having a hard time understanding where I am coming from.


I see Actual Play as the raw data set, and the Model the lens through which we make sense of said data.  My problem is that I think the lens is faulty.  But rather than just bitch about it, I’ve been fishing around trying to find out why.  This is why I haven’t seen or had the desire to post in Actual Play.  To refer to Mike’s post about Actual Play being the Rosetta Stone, I think that assertion is in error.  The Model, and just as important, the Glossary are the Rosetta Stone.  Actual play would be the tower of Babel.  It is only because there is a conceptual framework and a common vocabulary that we can make sense of Actual Play.  Putting my experiences in Actual Play with a faulty translator (the Model) would not effectively demonstrate the problems with the translator.  All that data (and time and effort) would just get categorized (incorrectly) in the current (in my opinion - faulty) paradigm and that would bury the discussion.  So just as we use the model as a tool to analyze Actual Play, I needed a tool to analyze the Model.

But then Ron comes in with his own paradigm - that Actual Play is the only (or the singularly best way) to discuss the Model.  He takes my “I am having troubles getting what I need” to be demonstrative of what happens when people don’t follow his paradigm.  When posters don’t follow his paradigm of idea exploration, it is indicative of problems with the individual (in this case me!) and that their time here will in the long run be wasted.  To whit –

Quote from: Ron Edwards
I consider your reluctance to disclose this information to be a very strange and possibly disturbing thing.

Italicizing mine.


There is something wrong with me because I don’t follow the paradigm of posting success.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
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.

Italicizing mine.


Unless I follow the paradigm of posting success, my thoughts, irrespective of their merit, will be regarded as “not important.”  IOW unless I have demonstrated credibility as a role-player, my posts will have no credibility among other role-player posters and will be deemed not worth responding to – “not good thoughts.”

Quote from: Ron Edwards
However, I think that if you continue as you have, then your enjoyment of the Forge will be limited in an ever-increasing downward spiral, giving you cause again and again to complain how the discussions are going. If you aren't interested in trying my advice, then over time, there won't have to be any dismissal or oppression for the Forge to become less fun or valuable for you. Apparently that process has already started, which is no more nor less than I expected, back when I provided this advice for the first time.

Italicizing mine.


Here we have proof of the validity of the paradigm of posting success in both prediction and evidence.  My future enjoyment of the Forge will be limited to an ever-increasing downward spiral, and the process has already started.  Not only that, but the paradigm employer is wise because he uses the paradigm of posting success, which wisdom thus lends credibility to the paradigm of posting success’ assertions, and those who don’t are foolish and doomed to failure.  Ignore the paradigm at one’s peril only.  This warning also has the effect of protecting the paradigm from challenge.

Before I continue I want to make absolutely CRYSTAL CLEAR – this in NOT a Ron bashing post.  There is merit in this process, and it does pertain to my first post, so everyone please be patient and do not interpret this post the wrong way.

The problem is that I am not having a downward spiral.  Quite to the contrary, my time here at the Forge has been very fruitful.  People have discussed my ideas whether or not they knew me as a gamer or not.  No one has treated my posts as Not Important, and that is not my issue.  That issue came into play from Ron’s employment of his paradigm of posting success, not from anything I had posted about.

And that is just the point.  Ron and I are talking past each other because he is using an established paradigm to look at my situation.  The problem is that the paradigm is not an exact fit.  New data was introduced to demonstrate its fitness, my posts were in all likelihood being treated as “not important” which was not the case at all.  Finally predicted distress for not following the paradigm was demonstrated, I am and will continue to have a downward spiral of success, which only confirms the validity of the paradigm which predicts such outcomes.  The problem is that I am not having a downward spiral of success.

The problem is I that I am engaging in paradigm breaking.  Just as Ron is “seeing” potential problems with me, “sees” problems with my posting process and predicts disaster for me in the long run, none of the above is true.  While I have posted a number of counter bits of data demonstrating inconsistencies of the paradigm of posting success, it is still holds tenaciously upon those who ascribe to it.  That is the exact same problem I am facing with discussing Sim in general - there is an already existing paradigm that is being employed to understand the Actual Play data.  Posting more data in Actual Play will not suffice for demonstrating problems with the current Sim paradigm.  And just as Ron and I have gone round and round here, so it has been trying to discuss Sim.

So rather than try to discuss that which is called “Sim”, I jumped to the abstract to try and shake free from the pre-conceptions inherent in any paradigm.  Several problems arose from that process.  I don’t have much experience and thus the tools to discuss such abstractions.  So I called out for help.  And what did I get?  A wonderfully fascinating small world example of the very problem I am encountering discussing Sim as at large!!  The problem I am encountering isn’t that I am suffering from the effects of breaking the paradigm of posting success, but that I am engaging in breaking the paradigm of Sim understanding.  Just like Ron is having a hard time even seeing what I am talking about in this thread due to his paradigm, others are having a difficult time seeing what I am discussing because I am trying to break the Sim understanding paradigm.  Of course this means people are going to understand where I am going and what I am talking about.  There is no conceptual framework yet, plus I am not certain exactly where I am going yet either.

New perspectives will not come into being by feeding more date into the old paradigm.  The paradigm itself needs to be challenged from the outside.  If there was no existing paradigm to break, then yes, posting in Actual Play would be fruitful.  The very existence of this site is testament to the difficulties in breaking an existing paradigm.  Unless I am mistaken GNS was meeting huge amounts of resistance at another discussion site where the prevailing paradigm was the three-fold model.  IOW the new GNS paradigm could not properly flourish in the presence of those who were deeply committed to the old three-fold paradigm.  Better to start afresh than to waste huge bloodying amounts of effort trying to convince others that their previous models are wrong.  I did not think I would run into the very same problem here that I heard echoes about from the previous site.

Chris asked a very important question –

“…what is it that you want the model to do, especially with respect to Sim?”

To which I reply, I want the Model to be internally consistent with how it describes what constitutes a CA (how the Gam/Nar CA’s are presented are not consistent with how Sim is presented), and I want the Model to describe the identifiable action of Sim play (like it has with Gam/Nar).  Ultimately I would like to know what we are really doing while we roleplay on a human level.

Once those tasks are completed then Sim discussion and ultimately Sim diagnosis and game design can begin in ernest.

Again, this was not intended to be a “there are evil people at the Forge thread”, but “how do I effective engage in paradigm breaking thread without realizing at first that is what I am asking.”

I do see tremendous value in the big Model, but I think it fails miserably with regards to Sim.  I am not looking to overturn the big Model, but if the efforts to define the Sim CA can be fully accounted for, and the Big Model must also change to accommodate that, then fine – let’s see where that takes us.  I want a fully functioning Model, I don’t want to just tear one down.  The stage where we are with the Big Model at present kind of reminds me of the problems Newtonian Physics was having accounting for the discrepancies in Mercury’s orbit.  So far the Big Model does not account for Sim successfully.  Nobody went in to fix that problem solely because they were looking to prove Newtonian Physics was wrong, but to account more fully for all observable phenomena.  (I am NOT equating myself to Einstein, thank you very much!)

This whole thread has been extremely interesting and I think demonstrative of the very problems I have been encountering.
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Sean
Guest
« Reply #34 on: September 27, 2004, 04:15:59 AM »

Jay wrote:

"It is only because there is a conceptual framework and a common vocabulary that we can make sense of Actual Play."

Jay, with respect, I think this is nonsense. We have a shared language in which we can describe things as they strike us. Theoretical terms can inform that or not insofar as they are adequate to our experience and we understand the theory. Especially if you are trying to break the established paradigm, it's important to try to show what moments seem to occur in a regular or systematic way in your play that make you think the current paradigm isn't working. I'd recommend avoiding theory as long as possible in that process - show the pattern first, without recourse to theory as far as possible, and then we can discuss what it means.

There's no requirement that you do this, theoretically speaking. But it could be invaluable in helping people understand you.

But then I agree with Mike that Actual Play is the rosetta stone, and that the theory has to be adequate to that. That's a different metatheoretical paradigm. Kuhn was wrong about incommensurability across scientific paradigm shifts, but maybe his problem rreally does arise between committed metatheorists. I hope not though, being a fan of old-school rationality and all that.


Chris -

In light of Jay's post, I have to say that you nailed the problem on the head. My disagreement is therefore with him and not you. I take it that the point of those who'd like to see some actual play with Jay is to help (a) their own understanding of what Jay's up to and (b) to facilitate better dialogue with one of the most interesting posters on these boards (that being Jay).

That's my guess anyway.
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Marco
Member

Posts: 1741


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« Reply #35 on: September 27, 2004, 04:26:35 AM »

Quote from: bcook1971
Quote from: clehrich
All I meant about an Actual Play post was this: if the point of Jay's project with Sim is to examine how the model works, then posting some Actual Play isn't going to help him. It may, however, help others.


Exactly. Then they'll be in a better position to help. So it can, ultimately, help him.

I guess it's a process of getting on the same page. Then he can cleanly cite any purported Big Model fissure, and his issue and purpose will be unmistakable.

(Emphasis added)

John's Water Uphill game was a posted "Big Model fissure" (in my opinion anyway) and it was clearly and certainly "mistakable." This is because in absence of, say, a video transcript, the post boils down to analysis. This is very, very different from 'raw data.'

If John wasn't sure then no one else can be sure and Mike and Vincent even wound up disagreeing over what could be interperted as basic points of Nar (how important is 'resolution' of the issues, what is meant by 'resolve' conflicts, etc.) This is the same sorts of discussions we see with 'story' or 'immersion.' Once everything is laid out there may be some agreement or at least the argument may be put down--but it certainly didn't result in a black-and-white crystal clear resolution of the issue.

Looking at Ron's recent post on Sim (the statement that it is defined by a confirmation of input) I would contend that the entirety of the discussion didn't even touch on a potentially majorly defining issue of the game (it centered, instead on Nar/Not-Nar which would be Nar/Sim, I think--which is, itself, a questionable conclusion).

I don't think Jay posting actual play would help me with him. My problem with Jay, plain and simple, is writing style. I have a hard time following his posts use of language and development of argument and I can't see how another post about play would help that.

As a result of reading people's actual play posts I know a lot of what they happen to think about The Big Model--but where I find it murky (Sim) it doesn't really help at all.

I've read, for example, several of Raven's Actual Play posts. It does give me an idea of what he got out of GNS. But that didn't, for example, illuminate any of the Sim-related conversations I had with him.

-Marco
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #36 on: September 27, 2004, 07:46:55 AM »

Quote
Also, responding to Mike's comments, aren't there concrete benefits to be gained from pluralism and non-monolithic understandings of roleplaying? If we always demand that people learn the Forge language and speak it all the time that they're here, we never get to learn from outsider perspectives.


Of course there are concrete benefits of non-monolithinc understandings. I'm not demanding that Jay learn the Forge language. He already knows it. I'm asking that he post to actual play so that we can add his language to ours. So it can become larger than what it is.

We've tried with Forge language, so far, and it's not working. We need to break out of that, and that's why the Actual Play part is so important. We need to look at some of these things in plain english for a moment before going back to theory will be really profitable.

Note that I'm with Jay on the whole sim thing - hence why I've posted not one, but two alternate models that intend to make the problem moot. These models have worked for a few, but not for others. That doesn't mean that for those who don't get it, that they're being obstructionist. It's just not working for them.

Jay, if you go fishing, and people say, "Well, I don't get how what you're saying improves on the current model," it's not that you're wrong, neccessarily, or that we're not giving reasonable consideration to what you're saying. It's just that we don't get it.

Or, again, that's what happens in my case.

Mike
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M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #37 on: September 27, 2004, 05:43:17 PM »

First, a correction of a point of fact.
Quote from: Jay
The very existence of this site is testament to the difficulties in breaking an existing paradigm.  Unless I am mistaken GNS was meeting huge amounts of resistance at another discussion site where the prevailing paradigm was the three-fold model.  IOW the new GNS paradigm could not properly flourish in the presence of those who were deeply committed to the old three-fold paradigm.  Better to start afresh than to waste huge bloodying amounts of effort trying to convince others that their previous models are wrong.  I did not think I would run into the very same problem here that I heard echoes about from the previous site.

No, that's not what happened. The other site knew little about the threefold model; Ron introduced it there in System Does Matter, then as the threefold as he understood it. Threefold adherents elsewhere objected, but on the site where this was discussed the debates had nothing to do with contrasting it to another model. It was merely about examining this model, and the claims Ron made for it.

This site was founded to support independent role playing game design, and Ron was asked to help with it, from what I gather; meanwhile, on the other site an individual was brought in to drum up discussions and increase interest in the site, and he did not think much of GNS or of theory generally, which I think he may have felt drove people away from the forums, so he tended to snub people who promoted it in favor of threads like what's you're favorite game system and stuff like that. The site management didn't intervene, and people left there for here. (I suspect there were other issues as well, but none that I saw were related to the discussion of GNS.)

I saw one poster here state that he finds Jay's posts difficult to read. He's not the first I've read saying so, and I've admitted to having some trouble getting through some of his work as well. That's a writing style problem, I think; and I'm not persuaded that pointing to it resolves it at all. (I had a professor once who asked very convoluted thirty-second questions, but if you weren't listening and she chose you to answer, you got the sixty-second complicated version as "clarification". Sometimes I feel that way about some of Jay's posts.)

I do make an effort to understand what Jay is trying to say when he posts; my problem usually is that I disagree with him. I hope that's not the same thing as being dismissive. I usually find his conception of Simulationism to be much more limiting than mine, and when he attempts to define it I find it excludes so much play that I've naturally included under that heading that I can't adjust to his version. On the other hand, the amount of discussion on this topic of late leads me to suspect that there are not many with whom I am in agreement on it, and it may well be that I am including modes of play in my understanding of simulationism which do not fit in the Big Model at all as it currently stands. Jay's points do tend to drive us to consider the matter in more depth.

--M. J. Young
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Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #38 on: September 27, 2004, 09:59:13 PM »

Hey M. J.,

Thanks for that interesting bit of history!  I should have known to come to for information about the site’s history.  Interesting how history is understood at a distance (in my case – not at all) and how it is understood by those who were more proximal…

Hey Sean,

Let me ask you this – If Actual Play is the Rosetta Stone, what then what original source is being translated?  Does not the existence of the Model and the growing Glossary of unique-to-this-topic-jargon suggest that there existed a need for a Rosetta stone that was not found when people were originally discussing their role-play experiences?

Hey Mike,

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Jay, if you go fishing, and people say, "Well, I don't get how what you're saying improves on the current model," it's not that you're wrong, neccessarily, or that we're not giving reasonable consideration to what you're saying. It's just that we don't get it.


I’m OK with that.  That is why I started this thread.  There are no bad people.  My questions were more structural.  Is this the best type of place where such discussions have the greatest chance of success?  (Is an open forum the best structured environment to have such debates?) And if the answer to the previous question is “yes”, then how can I best structure such threads to create the best possible conditions to increase the chances for effective idea fishing? (What is the best way to structure such debates?)

I understand that you or a lot of other people don’t “get it.”  Hell, I don’t get it much either.  I am operating mostly on gut instinct.  Things just don’t feel right because they don’t match up with experiences.  Until I can get a better handle of why that is (exactly what portions of my experiences aren’t adequately accounted for in the Model), I’m flailing in the dark.  The problem is that posting my experiences will only draw forth the dreaded Sim paradigm of understanding.  So let’s discuss the underpinnings of the Big Model.  What’s really going on between and within the humans speaking with each other at the table?  Once some new structures come to light then I can start explaining why it accounts more effectively for all phenomena by bringing in real cases of actual play.

In light of your post I shall consider the effort of posting an example of play.  However, even the short snippet will be monstrous given all that I believe needs to be covered when trying to understand Sim.  Given some conversations that I’ve been having, Sim is a phenomenally richer and more complex process than I could have imagined.  I think that in time as the underlying principles come to light and are better understood the paradigm of Sim understanding can be made much more accessible.  

Finally, I have a very real fear that such a post can poison the well of new idea exploration.  Simply put, someone can diagnose an element of play as representative some other CA without really looking at what’s really going on, and from that moment on all such conversations about that element will be closed or at least heavily tainted.  Want to see proof of that?  Look at this very thread…
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
Sean
Guest
« Reply #39 on: September 28, 2004, 04:19:42 AM »

Hi Jay!

You win the metaphor battle. English is the Rosetta Stone, then. The point is just that we can communicate our play-experiences to each other in a fairly straightforward way without being utterly dependent on theory in so doing, AND that knowing things about the way each other play can help us to understand the theoretical impulses that other people on the board might have. It's really not that complex.

The argument against doing this would be that all communication is always already theoretically informed and interpreted. (And in terms of RPG theory, no less.) You seem to suggest this, and your main worry about actual play is that you're going to be theoretically pigeonholed. Well, I can't promise that no-one will pigeonhole you, but I really honestly don't think that's what Ron and Mike were asking you for examples in order to get. I think they just want to, you know, have a better sense of what your play-experience is like, what kinds of things you like in your games, how you interact with your players, etc.

By the way, I do want to commend you on how well you've handled this thread. I couldn't have been nearly so forthright and non-defensive in a three page thread primarily about my posting style!

Best,

Sean
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #40 on: September 28, 2004, 11:02:13 AM »

Jay, why does the actual play post have to be about simulationism? Why does it have to be about GNS at all. You're not seeing the forest for the trees. There are other things to talk about than GNS. The point of going to Actual Play is not to have another venue to discuss precisely the same problems, but instead to discuss something entirely different for a while so that when we come back to the original problem that it's fresh.

Not all posts in actual play, in fact probably few of them, are about analyzing GNS mode of play. They're about the 99% of other stuff that is important to RPGs. The point is to get to know you outside of GNS.

Post about your favorite method of intoducing flavor text or something. Post about how you conduct fishing contests using D&D. Post about the really cool thing that player did last session that you really didn't expect him to do. Post about actual play.

Mike
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