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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: Limits of acceptable "Theory"  (Read 11218 times)
Montola
Member

Posts: 36


« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2005, 09:39:44 AM »

Hmm.... I have no clue on where this text should go, so I'll put it here.


From my angle I kind of understand the both sides to a degree. A little background; I've been on my RPG-theory streak for a couple of years now. In that process, as J.Tuomas says, I, too, found it necessary (academically, philosophically and ethically) to familiarize myself with the paradigms of the field and earlier writings. So, the current attempt is my I guess third shot at getting inside this paradigm.

However, The Forge is fairly difficult to access as well as to comment.

The thing is, you've talked a lot here. Hey, I don't know, 12000 posts on GNS-forum is an immense amount of text, not to talk about 29000 on the rest of the theory (whatever that means in the site architecture).

Then again, we've all had hundreds and thousands of hours of yakkety-yak on these things. The good thing is that you guys have it all as documented database, which would be exceedingly interesting if I was doing, for example, a statistical study of formation of Kuhnian paradigms, or whatever.

But the thing is that on the level you're doing this thing (and on the level we're doing this thing in the "Nordic scene"), it eventually has to drift towards the standards academic discussion.

That means articles, publications, preferably peer-reviews and in the end compiling monographies and books for studying the stuff. And when we compare the impressive list of articles you have with the overwhelming amount of text mass you have, I'm sorry to say, in the end you have rather small part of this chat organized in an accessible form. Referrable form.

As long as the mass of ideas and brainwork you folks have done is not in a referrable form, it's very hard to integrate into academic discussion. Which is important to folks like me (as I'm thinking of doctoral thesis here) and J. Tuomas, who want to do our literature surveys before stirring the pot any more in this phase.

So that's how I'd increase accessibility of this discussion, which in turn would include its evaluability (is there such a word?) and disseminability. Same goes to the folks in Alarums and Excursions community as well.

(It seems that four postings have appeared to the thread since I begun writing this. Oh dear.)

 - Markus
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J. Tuomas Harviainen
Member

Posts: 127


« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2005, 09:46:23 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
All of which violates the basic principle of posting here, which is specifically to engage in constructive discourse.

You're not interested in constructive discourse; as you put it, you're a de-constructor. Which is fine, as an observer. Here's the tricky part, though. You apparently want to carry out your research interest in an interventional, rather than observational way.


You've seriously misunderstood the idea. Linguistic deconstruction means observation of statements and deduction of their ideological content. "Taking language apart to see its meaning and sources." It's not in any way in conflict with constructive discourse. On the contrary. (The only connection between those two in reality is that the same word is used in both of them. One is not the opposite of the other.)

Quote
You're also, obviously, free to post as you please. But I hope it's clear that there is no way that your posts can be taken seriously by anyone else here. When you post, it's an experiment upon the other people in a thread, not participating with them.


No. It's a basic technique called "conversation as interview", where after one opinion is introduced (such as "the discussions here seem all to support only the GNS view on role-playing, do you agree?"), and when people answer the answers are read for their ideological content - just like people normally do, except in this case I make notes about what they said. And just like in normal discourse, I can ask "why do you say that", without violating either  the site rules or research objectivity. Were I to insult someone on purpose to get results, that would be a very different thing - very clearly unacceptable, and against both your rules and mine.

It's your site, so feel free to prohibit me from doing what I wanted: taking notes on what people talk on this public forum. As it stands, the very paradigmatic responses provided (unfortunately hostilely, due to misunderstandings in communication culture) by you and (in a much more constructive tone) by lumpley have already provided me with a lot of answers.

Best,

-Jiituomas
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2005, 09:53:02 AM »

A more correct interpretation would be "a multitude of previous theory suggestions by other people than myself have been rejected by members of the Forgean paradigm due to the suggestions not fitting the GNS model, not because of any possible flaws the ideas contained. The method of rejection is invariably a 'look, we've discussed it here[/] years ago to conclusion, followed by ignoring any arguments to the contrary."

I believe I'm going to disagree. I think the process for getting traction in the theory conversations remains the same as it has always been: post about actual play, or design a game system to prove your ideas. The core of the Forge is a design community disaffected and skeptical of conventional RPG design wisdom. And the way to shake up the community is empirically with play, and with design results. As the Forge user-base has grown, some folks have chosen to focus on theory. Don't make the mistake of thinking your theories, unbolstered by actual play or design, have any less traction than those of any other similar theorist.

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2005, 09:53:38 AM »

Bah.

"prohibit me from taking notes"
=
"go ahead and ban me then"

... which is where I'm with Vincent. I can't help you with your goals here. Tuomas, as I said, take all the notes you want to take. I hope they include the data that you have not been prohibited from doing anything as you see fit.

Eero, your fine post is misplaced, I think.

Best,
Ron
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J. Tuomas Harviainen
Member

Posts: 127


« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2005, 10:09:31 AM »

Ron, that wasn't a "ban me, I dare you" statement. Please do not read to my words what isn't there.

What I was saying is that my goals were not in any way in conflict with the purposes or rules of this place, but if knowing that the dialogue will be refered to in research, you had all the rights to say "no" to it. As you clearly have.

The research will probably now state that "No results could be gained from the Forge, as the administration considered the subject of discussing the possibility of theory favoritism to be against the forum's purposes." Does this sound correct to you?

Just to prevent any further misunderstandings - since they seem to happen so easily here - I will cancel my registration, and stick to reading (without taking any notes).

-Jiituomas

[EDIT: It's probably easier that someone removes me from the register. I can't seem to find any way to do it myself.]
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lumpley
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Posts: 3453


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« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2005, 10:26:01 AM »

Jiituomas: This is important so pay attention. You haven't yet launched a thread about the topic you want to discuss.

Until you do, we are helpless to discuss it.

-Vincent
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2005, 11:13:12 AM »

Tuomas, I'm going to say it one more time.

You are not prohibited from taking data from discussions at the Forge, nor from participating in discussions in the interest of collecting data.

My statement clarified some of the responses you're sure to receive in doing so, mainly being ignored by at least of the participants now that they understand your agenda. That statement was a favor to you. You're welcome.

No one is banned or removed from registry at the Forge, nor prohibited from posting. If you don't even understand that about this site, then any insights you purport to draw from its function are already working from an invalid foundation.

Your threat to characterize the Forge in your statement in your research is therefore, bluntly, based on telling a lie.

There is nothing further that I, as moderator, can possibly say.

Best,
Ron
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J. Tuomas Harviainen
Member

Posts: 127


« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2005, 11:41:01 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
You are not prohibited from taking data from discussions at the Forge, nor from participating in discussions in the interest of collecting data.


Then apparently, it was my turn to misunderstand what you meant (I read it as a dismissive, condescending send-off.)

Quote
My statement clarified some of the responses you're sure to receive in doing so, mainly being ignored by at least of the participants now that they understand your agenda. That statement was a favor to you. You're welcome.


Thank you. Again, due to previous posts I misunderstood the meaning of this too as an insult.

Quote
No one is banned or removed from registry at the Forge, nor prohibited from posting. If you don't even understand that about this site, then any insights you purport to draw from its function are already working from an invalid foundation.


It does list the option of disabling the account. I was refering to that,  but chose my words in too much of a hurry. And I asked for it not to leave with a slamming door, but to prevent people from sending any personal comments on this thread without them having a chance to get a reply.

Quote
Your threat to characterize the Forge in your statement in your research is therefore, bluntly, based on telling a lie.


That wasn't a threat - it's your turn to misunderstand here. (I can see why, after all that's happened here today.) That's a direct assessment from your first post on this thread - the one about my research being clearly against site policy. A statement not of "the administration blocked us" but of "the forum is not a place designated as suitable for this topic of speculation".

I will nevertheless withdraw from participating on other discussions, unless they happen to concern theories I've published elsewhere. It seem that my way of writing is too blunt for the taste of the people here. (And please, do not read that as an insult!)

Should anyone be interested in discussing the paradigm fixation question in an environment where communication culture based blunders aren't this much of a risk, contact me through email.

Best,

-Jiituomas
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Eetu
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Posts: 34


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« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2005, 11:49:06 AM »

I'm sad to see this happening. Like Eero, I myself hover somewhere between the Nordic circle and the Forge with respect to thoughts on roleplaying, and would seriously like to see more interaction between the two.

In that interest, I beg all sides to cool off. And I want to clear up one thing that I think gave the whole discussion its bad start:

Tuomas, the thread you are referring to was shut down, because it was veering in at least three different directions, which is discouraged here. It's in the etiquette at http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=1604:

Quote

Straying from the topic of the current thread is treated differently. We are all in favor of discussions mutating and covering other topics in role-playing games. We ask that you start a new thread if the topic changes too much, referencing the other thread in your first post on the new thread. If a moderator or administrator thinks that a thread has gone too far off-topic, he may "split" the thread, creating two threads out of the one.


So shutting the thread down was not an attempt at censorship, and it happens all the time here. The offers to restart the discussion in a more positive form in a new thread on the RPG Theory forum are genuine, and I for one would really like that to happen.

And with proper restraint and adherence to the discussion culture of the environment, I'm sure we could even bridge that culture gap in posting styles, too.

 - Eetu
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Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2005, 12:24:06 PM »

Hi Toumas,

To step back from the attack-counterattack thing that appears to be developing, let's try it from this stand point:

-The Forge is about the discussion of roleplaying games, with emphasis on support for independently owned games

-If you care to share experiences, views, theory, or ideas with regards to roleplaying games, that is welcome.  That is the point of discussion on this site.  You may find folks who agree or disagree with you for varying reasons.  That is to be expected.

-If you care to simply observe and deconstruct the fashion in which discussion occurs, that is also acceptable.  Discussion of the deconstruction has no place here, but you are free to start one elsewhere via your own means.

-You are also free to privately message anyone you care to interview or ask further details of.  They may or may not care to take time to assist you.

Now, as to the meat of this whole thread:

-You have stated that you hold views different than the majority of the active posters here.  Ok.

-You have stated that such views are stifled from being expressed.  Ok.

-Various folks have asked, "Can you express these views?  We would like to hear, discuss, and possibly learn from them?"  This means that several posters are willing to hear you out- to not stifle you from making your ideas known.  This is constructive discussion and a vital part of this site.

So, now, you have a few choices.  You can sit back, and continue to pile data.  Worthwhile, and everyone's happy.  You can also share some of these other views, observations, and theories regarding roleplaying with us, and participate in the community discussion.  We may not all agree, but many of us would very much like to hear and learn about things we may not be aware of.  I am one of those people.

So, you are being invited to participate and share, if you care to do so.  If not, that is fine as well.

Chris
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Marco
Member

Posts: 1741


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« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2005, 12:40:10 PM »

Chris is dead on target here, man. Listen to him. I realize you think your mode of communication is "too blunt"--but it's not--it's just that you're not gettin' the idea that why you participate is up to you and you're welcome to participate.

(and if you wanna take notes and stuff that's fine too)

-Marco
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2005, 02:46:35 PM »

Hello,

Tuomas, I appreciate your latest post.

Shall we let this thread stand as a testimony to the fact that we were attempting to hear one another, and then move on from there?

Best,
Ron
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J. Tuomas Harviainen
Member

Posts: 127


« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2005, 08:50:49 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Shall we let this thread stand as a testimony to the fact that we were attempting to hear one another, and then move on from there?


That would be very nice, indeed. Let it also stand as testimony on how impossible it is to read the true meaning of people's statements when answers are short and weighted down by a faulty image of the opposition's intent.

Best,

-Jiituomas
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clehrich
Member

Posts: 1557


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« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2005, 10:35:37 PM »

I realize (cool it Ron!) that this thread is in the process of closure, but I just got here.  My intent is not to re-open a thread that (for many reasons) just didn't really go anywhere positive.

---Tuomas,

As you know from reading scads of threads, I'm interested in very much the sorts of things you are.  Deconstruction, discourse-analysis, and the rest.  I'm on something of a structuralism binge right now -- sort of a retro thing, I suppose -- but have in the past been very focused on practice (Bourdieu), performance (Ortner), and so on.  I have posted on these things quite often.

Sometimes I have been attacked.  Most of the time, I have not been.  I have found, in fact, that the Forge is surprisingly open to such discussions.

Eero has remarked on my ritual article as an example of a theory which is not part of the dominant Forge discourse; to put that differently, I think it is very much not part of the master-narrative that is proposed by a lot of folks encountering the Forge briefly.  As I say at the outset, and as I have said repeatedly since, I think that the Edwardsian Big Model has some grave flaws.  I have since come to the conclusion, personally, that the Big Model does very much what it says, but that the master narrative here makes it very much something other than that.  This is a fascinating question of the extension of discursive hegemony, and one I'd love to debate.

I should note in passing that I personally consider the ritual article nothing but a bare sketch of an analysis that one of these days I really need to get around to completing, but that's the nature of academic life.

Quite recently, Mendel [Wormwood] started a thread about "Deceit" that threatened to go horribly awry.  For me, this was an exciting occasion to examine the mystifications at work in RPG discourse, on the Forge and elsewhere.  For others, this was a potentially violently destructive way of examining anything at all, and certainly something that would shatter personal bonds and friendships.  We debated this for quite a while, and ultimately came to a rough, but functional, midpoint.

Now after all that, I think I am living proof that there is no reason whatever that non-Big Model approaches, academic perspectives, and in some broad sense deconstructive analyses are, or can be, welcome here.  I do think there was a misunderstanding in that last thread, as several have mentioned, because the norm here is that discussions of how the Forge works or thinks go in Site Discussion.

BUT....

If, as I suspect, you are suggesting that "how the Forge works" is itself a theoretical question, requiring analytical rather than purely practical models; and if, as I suspect, you are suggesting that "how the Forge works" is itself a proposition having implications for the nature of Forge-based theory,

THEN

I agree with you.  Usually that placement would be correct, because usually this forum (Site Discussion) is used for practical purposes of one sort or another.  If you mean by it a much broader discourse-analysis of the nature of this forum and its discursive structures, you're right --- that doesn't belong in Site Discussion, as currently formulated, and shifting it there could appear to be a dismissal.  It was, I promise you, not intended so.

So THEREFORE....

If that's the sort of thing, roughly, that you're interested in, I have a suggestion.

Send me a PM.  Let's start there.  We'll discuss it a bit, and I can try to help formulate the topic in a way that has some sort of reasonably clear home, so that we won't get pointless debates about whether it's in the right place.  I'd guess that RPG Theory is the place, but let's see.  Then you and I will compose a first post, or I will, or you will, or whatever, and we will debate this.  If everyone else thinks we're yammering about nothing, it makes no difference: you and I can have a great discussion.  I bet you that Eero will join in, at the very least.

I promise.  Really I do.  There is a place for this here.  If there isn't, I'm going to be very, very upset about it, having had a bunch of illusions shattered.  But I'm pretty damn sure that this is possible to debate and discuss here, in a profitable manner.

Okay, sure, it's reflexive, but that's what makes it fun, right?

Looking forward to your PM....

P.S. If you wonder whether I'm messing with you or something, start by PM-ing Eero (in Finnish, if you like), and if he doesn't back up my bona fides I'll kick his butt.  :)
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Chris Lehrich
clehrich
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« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2005, 10:34:35 AM »

OOPS!

Correction to one paragraph above:
Quote from: I
Now after all that, I think I am living proof that there is no reason whatever that non-Big Model approaches, academic perspectives, and in some broad sense deconstructive analyses are, or can be, welcome here.

Correct to:
Quote
Now after all that, I think I am living proof that there is no reason whatever that non-Big Model approaches, academic perspectives, and in some broad sense deconstructive analyses are not, or cannot be, welcome here.
Brain-fart.  :-p
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Chris Lehrich
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