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Author Topic: The Forge's Anti-Polling position  (Read 13218 times)
anthony kilburn
Member

Posts: 54


« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2005, 09:09:33 PM »

Quote
Even if people don't find the specific ideas helpful, you'll still see how a game is designed. And that's a very helpful thing, too.


I agree with that, although game design itself is quite variable, both in practice and in the success of the exercise (if "success" in game design could even be defined).

I guess I'm just too stupid to understand why polling is so bad here.  I'm not trying to make enemies, just trying to make sense of something.

Quote
From this, it is obvious to me that you are not reading, digesting, and examining the posts being written in response to you, or you would not have had to ask this question...again. The answer has been detailed in a number of ways above (hence, no doubt, Ron's desire not to deal with the question again).


No, I understand everything presented.  I just disagree.


Again, not here to offend or become "the bear in the bearpit", I just didn't understand the principle.... and still don't.... but if everyone's angry with the debate, let's just lock up the thread.
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contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2005, 04:40:21 AM »

I too think the hostility to polling is misplaced.  I agree that on many boards the poll is just in effect a show of hands around the playground; but I'm equally surprised that this forum has never ventured to use the technique more constructively, rather than eliminating it outright.
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greyorm
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Posts: 2233

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« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2005, 05:13:09 AM »

Quote
No, I understand everything presented.  I just disagree.

Really? Then I guess I'm confused, since you keep asking questions about it. Questions entail not understanding something, not disagreeing with it, especially since you end your post stating, once more, that you don't understand:
Quote
I just didn't understand the principle.... and still don't....

But you just said you understood everything presented!

You're talking out of both sides of your mouth. No, don't bother defending yourself against that charge: we don't go for that sort of "what I meant when I said..." crap. What you've said is what you've said, and it is clear from this that, right now, this discussion cannot really go anywhere.

Quote
but if everyone's angry with the debate, let's just lock up the thread.

No one is "angry" with the debate.
With your behavior thus far on this thread? Perhaps; though I wouldn't characterize it as "angry" (boohoo, someone disagreed with me or criticized me, that means they're angry! -- give me a break).
But with the "debate"? No, don't be foolish.

However, until you figure a few things out, I'm done here. Thanks, but I don't have the time; someone else can try and help you out.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Valamir
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« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2005, 06:23:09 AM »

I'll endeavor to explain succinctly why polling is a useless tool for game design...and hense, as a site dedicated to game design, it is inappropriate for the Forge.

Polling is what you do when you lack conviction in what you are doing.

Polling is what you do when you lack the courage to take action when action is necessary.

Polling is what you do when you don't want to be held accountable for your own decisions.



Game design...good game design...requires you to have conviction in what you are doing, be accountable for the design decisions you make, and have the courage to take action when action is necessary (see numerous threads about shooting sacred cows and killing ones darlings).

Polling is an attempt to punt your responsibility as a game designer to others, to let them make the decision for you, and to be able to fall back to "poll results" to defend your choices.

For those reasons (and others) opinion polls are a ridiculous means of making decisions about anything...including game design.

Does that help you understand the principle?  It isn't really necessary for you to agree with it.
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2005, 06:31:25 AM »

All I have to say is: Well said, Ralph! That's exactly the kind of thing that keeps me going when the going gets rough. Conviction--Courage--Accountability. That's what it's all about. Bravo!
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Valamir
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« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2005, 06:39:19 AM »

For a demonstration of those three as it pertains to game design, I direct the reader to any of a series of recent threads on Capes in which Tony amply demonstrates couragous design choices, conviction in those choices, and and ample willingness to be held accountable for them.
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anthony kilburn
Member

Posts: 54


« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2005, 06:39:57 AM »

Quote from: killacozzy
I just didn't understand [your interpretation of] the principle.... and still don't....


It's a bulletin board, not a court room.

Quote from: greyorm
boohoo, someone disagreed with me or criticized me, that means they're angry! -- give me a break


I love being criticized, but I'm getting jumped on because I failed to check my language for loopholes!

Thing is I understand everything that everyone has said.  I am, after all, literate.  What I don't understand is what I consider illogical principle.  If you gave me as a reason that you drink milk when you aren't thirsty, I would look at you and, even though I heard your reason and understand what you meant (duh, you're not thirsty!  this is why!), I still wouldn't understand why because the logic is not present.

Justification of a situation with debatable arguments still leaves that matter of justification.  And when I was not understanding the argument's use as justification, everyone decided I must be an idiot not to understand the argument itself, which I did.

It went like this:
ACT ONE
Round one
(A bell rings.)

ME: Why do you drink milk?
YOU: Because I'm not thirsty.
ME: I don't understand.
YOU: I'm not thirsty.  That's why I drink milk.
ME: Because you're not thirsty?  Weird.  I would think you drank milk when thirsty.
YOU: You drink milk when you're not thirsty.
ME: I would drink it when thirsty, myself, but whatever.  That makes no sense to me.  To each his own, I guess.... I just don't understand why.
YOU: Hey.... did you hear me?  I drink milk because I'm not thirsty.  Read over that again before you ask again.
ME: I heard you, smart guy.  I get it.  I just don't understand.  ARG... your illogical argument seems so obvious to me!  You make no sense.  I don't understand it!
YOU: Oh, my frickin God.  ME = NOT THIRSTY sooooo I drink some milk.  Do you understand that?  Please, someone explain it to him.
ME: Look, I get it.  "When you aren't thirsty."  You stated this, and I understand your statement.  I don't understand your LOGIC.  Why are you freaking jumping on me?  If you're angry with this discussion, we'll stop talking.
YOU: Angry with the discussion?  Your behavior, perhaps.  Just because we disagreed, you think I hate you?  Heh, crybaby.
ME: I said angry with the discussion, not me.  That makes your sarcasm a bit out of line.  Crybaby?  Geez....
(From ME's tears, Pangea is formed.  Life begins.  Fini.)




Yeah, how tedious and horrible a script that was.  Bottoms up!

I hope that clears things up.

BTW, as for those who understand that I hear the words, but not the sense behind them and have tried to keep a good discussion going, my appologizes for the thick tension.  LOL.
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anthony kilburn
Member

Posts: 54


« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2005, 06:52:12 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
Polling is an attempt to punt your responsibility as a game designer to others, to let them make the decision for you, and to be able to fall back to "poll results" to defend your choices.


Not necessarily.  You guys all act like only corporate hacks poll their audience, like it's a sign that you don't have faith in your own abilities.

I present the notion that you bring forth ideas you have faith in, but perhaps an equal faith.  I have several ideas for games, for example.  They're in-depth ideas, and sometimes I switch projects because I get stuck on another.  Is it weak for me to ask fellow gamers which idea sounds most interesting even though I'm very excited about and, therefore, torn between them?  I say "no", and that's just one simple little example.  I'm sure there are lots of proper ways to do it.

But certainly, if you're just being lazy and trying to get others to make your game for you—which, if you read back a ways, I am against—then, yes.... polling is bad.  But then again, those same people could post up a discussion about their game and steal suggestions and ideas just as easily, thereby doing exactly what's stated in the quote.  The medium (poll, discussion, show of hands) is not the problem, it's the lazy designer.

But I'll stop there.... I'm just presenting an opposing idea, not trying to start the revolution....
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Brendan
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Posts: 144


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« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2005, 06:59:09 AM »

Quote from: killacozzy
Is it weak for me to ask fellow gamers which idea sounds most interesting even though I'm very excited about and, therefore, torn between them?

Yes.
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2005, 06:59:29 AM »

Look, K, your analogy is not similar enough to the current issue. It's not at all like drinking milk when not thirsty. It's more like you going to someone's house, and they don't allow shoes to be worn inside. You ask why, and they say "because I don't want people tracking dirt into my house." You respond that wearing shoes is easier than taking them off at the doorway and has lots of benefits and it really doesn't track dirt in, and you don't understand the logic of their statement. They look at you and say, "hey, this is my house, and I don't want people walking around wearing shoes because I believe that tracks dirt all over, end of story." And you keep saying, "but why?" And they keep saying, "because I don't want dirt in my house." No communication is happening, on either side. But at the end of the day, we're in Ron and Clinton's house here, so their rules go.

As other posters have pointed out, if you want to invite folks to your house where they are free to wear shoes (i.e. create your own site, where polling is allowed), go for it.
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2005, 07:13:20 AM »

Hmm... I seem to remember that Matt Snyder polled us all just a while ago about which game project he should be finishing next. It's an interesting concept, certainly - can he keep up the convinction and interest in Dreamspire now that the masses have spoken? Or should he have listened to his inner demons for inspiration?

Anyway. It's OK to disagree about stuff. I don't think that anybody has any great passion about polls (those things phpBB allows you to put at the start of threads), but they just don't currently belong in the Forge repertoire. I'm sure that Ron and Clinton have evaluated this thread, and they could even change the rules. Or not, if they think it's better to not have them. What I'm pretty sure about is that nobody wants to have polling threads (which do not necessarily have polls at the start), which replace discussion with opinionating, with rare comments on other opinions and almost no analytic summarizing. That's the thing we're railing against, here.

As I explained previously, a big part of it is ideological. Many folks here, including Ralph and Ron, subscribe to the notion that polling in any form is an ineffective tool of design. It's an article of faith, really. About commitment and belief in yourself. About the legend of the artist versus the technocratic entertainment industry. What do you expect, this being an indie forum ;)

Anyway, I at least find that part of the discussion interesting - could one gain anything useful from polling, and if so, how'd you go about it? Would the poll need to comply with the rigor of statistical science, or is there design/publishing levels of methodology which would actually get by with less? What kind of useful information could one hope to collect in that way? How would the information be used?

But for the time being, one thing Forge does very rigorously is differentiating between discussion and polling. If you're really just interested in opinions and not discussion, at this point what you should do is put the poll up somewhere else and invite people to participate. You can then bring the methodology and results to the Forge for dissection, which has actually been done a couple of times. So discussion about polling is OK, discussion about results is OK, but actually polling people is not. I'd imagine that it'd be more OK if you were really obvious about it and asked Ron's permission beforehand and the poll pertained on the Forge's mission in some way, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

When you stop to think about it, we do do all kinds of polling and other statistical work. There's those "what game did you play last" things, and Ralph's quarterlies about the Forge's statistics, for example. And then there's the Indie Awards, which are a big voting thing held just outside Forge event horizon... the point is, anti-poll attitude is not dogma, it's something held for a reason. And the line is drawn again at need. So if there's good reason for allowing or encouraging certain kinds of polls, I would think that that will happen.

But yeah - in the end it's about Ron/Clinton's vision for the site. Convince Ron about the benefits of polls, and they happen.

[Andrew: a killer analogy there! Nothing more to add.]
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2005, 07:18:25 AM »

Quick point about Forge policy: moderators of specialty forums, e.g. Chimera Creative, Adept Press, etc, have full power in those forums, and I have none, except in the HeroQuest and Adept Press ones. So if they want to run polls, or really do anything, like post animated GIFs of themselves dancing naked, it doesn't violate the Forge policies for the general discussion section.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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Posts: 5574


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« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2005, 08:27:35 AM »

K, I'm not accusing you of being a lazy designer.

Let me illustrate using your own question regarding the name Cian.

Cian is the name you chose for your game.  If that's a name that means something to you...if it resonates in your gut...if it just plain fees right...then its right.  If you poll 1000 people and a 1000 people tell you its wrong...then the poll is wrong.  Thats what I mean by having conviction.  If you are convinced that Cian is the right name for your game...than damn the torpedoes and damn the response of any poll.

There are only 2 reasons to want a poll on a question like that.  Either you lack conviction that Cian is the right name for your game...in which case you already know the answer...if you're not convinced its right, then it isn't.  Or you're under some misguided assumption that even though you think its right that other random people at large would know better than you.  That's just a bad assumption and not at all true.

Pick a name that when you hear you know its right.  If Cian is it keep it.  If Cian isn't it, change it.  No poll can ever answer that question for you.

This is even MORE crucial when you start talking about design elements more important than a name.
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anthony kilburn
Member

Posts: 54


« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2005, 09:00:27 AM »

Quote from: Brendan
Quote from: killacozzy
Is it weak for me to ask fellow gamers which idea sounds most interesting even though I'm very excited about and, therefore, torn between them?

Yes.


It seems incongruent that it's permissible to discuss a topic and use others suggestions and ideas in my game, thereby displaying lack of responsibility for a project, but to present an idea to others for any opinion, with or without reason, shows weakness?

And it's funny that here—where we're not polling and expecting "yes" or "no" answers, but rather discussing the concept of polling—I was presented with a "yes" answer and no explanation or reasoning.  LOL.

Quote from: Andrew Morris
Look, K, your analogy is not similar enough to the current issue.


LOL.  It was the first thing that popped into my head—and made a great short play, I might add.

Quote from: Andrew Morris
It's more like you going to someone's house, and they don't allow shoes to be worn inside. You ask why, and they say "because I don't want people tracking dirt into my house." You respond that wearing shoes is easier than taking them off at the doorway and has lots of benefits and it really doesn't track dirt in, and you don't understand the logic of their statement. They look at you and say, "hey, this is my house, and I don't want people walking around wearing shoes because I believe that tracks dirt all over, end of story." And you keep saying, "but why?" And they keep saying, "because I don't want dirt in my house." No communication is happening, on either side. But at the end of the day, we're in Ron and Clinton's house here, so their rules go.

As other posters have pointed out, if you want to invite folks to your house where they are free to wear shoes (i.e. create your own site, where polling is allowed), go for it.


I wasn't fighting to "wear shoes", I was simply discussing (or thought I was discussing) an alterate method.... like maybe a... "mat" to "wipe your shoes on"(?).... all for the sake of discussion.  It's not about me not wanting to abide by law, it's just that the only way to make progress is to challenge the status quo.  You make your "faith" stronger by questioning it.... and if your "faith" crumbles, then get another "faith".

Quote from: Valamir
Let me illustrate using your own question regarding the name Cian  ...  There are only 2 reasons to want a poll on a question like that. Either you lack conviction that Cian is the right name for your game...in which case you already know the answer...if you're not convinced its right, then it isn't. Or you're under some misguided assumption that even though you think its right that other random people at large would know better than you. That's just a bad assumption and not at all true.


First off, I wasn't actually polling the name of my game.  I was asking about the process and considerations of naming a game in general.  Secondly, if I brought two names I couldn't decide between to a group of gamers, and they picked one out that spoke more to them, how did I lose?  I didn't forfeit my creation (I made both names), and I didn't let random people override my decision (I decided upon both names, but could use only one).  Fact is, opinions are important, and most creators, even if they polled the name "Cian" and found out the public preferred "Fantasy Champions", would probably not let that alone be the end of "Cian".

You're justifying the anti-polling sentiment by saying "it's for your own good...."  But what good does it do?  It prevents capable people from perhaps using polls effectively.  Furthermore, it just forces the faithless, the hacks without conviction to go into discussion areas with questions like "my game's about dinosaurs—should I call it DinoMite?"  That, in itself, seems to defeat the purpose.



But anyway, I'm not trying to attack people, just the argument.  I crave logic, and when I fail to find it, (in best Tommy Chong voice) I freak out, man.... LOL.
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Valamir
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« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2005, 09:18:01 AM »

Quote
Furthermore, it just forces the faithless, the hacks without conviction to go into discussion areas with questions like "my game's about dinosaurs—should I call it DinoMite?" That, in itself, seems to defeat the purpose.


But Killa...that kind of discussion wouldn't be tolerated here either.  Perhaps that's the ultimate point you're missing.  This isn't a "ban on polls".  Shallow, unsubstantial, "what's your opinion", or "what do you think about x" discussions are not allowed at the Forge.  By definition a poll is a shallow, unsubstantial, "what's your opinion" discussion.  Ergo...its not allowed on the Forge.  Its not allowd in sentence form.  Its not allowed in elaborate rambling paragraph form.  Its not allowed in a list with little buttons to vote with form.  Shallow, unsubstantial discussions are not allowed.

Its conceivable (quite likely actually) that you could uncover a way of discussing the name of your game and the process involved in naming games in general in a way that is not shallow and not unsubstantial and that WOULD make for an entirely appropriate and appreciated topic for the Forge.  The thread in question wasn't it...it was a poll.  Simple as that.

Like I said, you don't have to agree with it, just abide by it.  Its been the policy of the Forge since day one and doesn't require anyone's approval to continue (including mine).
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