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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 94 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Publishing theory  (Read 16209 times)
J. Tuomas Harviainen
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Posts: 127


« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2005, 09:42:03 PM »

After reading; the terminology and the theory will not lead immediately to understand all its implications. We need to expose ourselves to its application. Many people are ignoring the actual play, which is the only way to fix everything together.

I think that's a correct assessment, but it lacks one vital step: much of what is discussed on the Forge first actualizes on the Indie Design forum, and only then proceeds to play. That's what makes tracking theory material here so difficult. Most of the active Forge insiders know which game uses which ideas and which theory parts, but for an outsider the forum is a jungle. (And occasionally requires knowing when you need to check a non-forum source such as Vincent's site, too, to understand the whole thing.) Whereas a typical academic process would lead to the results being reported in the same context, the Forge theory process is often more like engineering: jumping from base theory to product to product review. That's in one sense truly excellent, because it's actual field validation and not just theoretical speculation, but on the other hand it makes both external analysis and (especially) quotation quite difficult.

That's where summaries come in: I too would love to have a few codified texts I could quote elsewhere. If role-playing were a fully accepted academic field already, there would be articles like, say, "Formalist variations on Campbellian story templates in Polaris" constantly published by established rpg researchers, but we're still far from that point. But I bet that the first indie designer to describe his/her game creation process in one codified, concise article reaching /all the way/ from Theory threads to design to Actual Play feedback will have that work repeatedly quoted by future researchers as an example of how the Forge process functions and what it can offer. ("See Jones, 2006, for how Color is implemented as a distinctive game trait.") Until then, I'll keep quoting forum threads, even though they never seem quite as credible in footnotes as article names do, and are damn hard to include in bibliographies.

-Jiituomas
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Montola
Member

Posts: 36


« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2005, 01:27:00 AM »

Quote
Markus, I want to stress that the good will you're bringing here is extremely valuable to me and everyone else. My suggestion is to start only with the first section of the Glossary, which includes about seven terms and a brief diagram. We can discuss that, and then you'll find that all the other terms and ideas flow from it in a simple, layered, and non-circular way. I look forward to any dialogue about it. Feel free to use the GNS forum here, or contact me by private email.

Thank you! I try to get the time.


And since the following is just a quickie, I'll post it here:

Quote
Markus, could I persuade you to elaborate on RPGs and government funding, perhaps in a new thread? I'm trying to get this ball rolling in Norway right now, and am curious about the Finnish process.

I think Eero could answer this better. To my knowledge, no-one has published a game book with governmental money yet, but he is at least applying. Also, some people have been at least considering applying for artist grants.

Some larps have gotten a little. Sweden is the right place for that.

If you have a huge major project, like Dragonbane you can apply and theoretically get big sums from EU -- you also need something like a year for the application process. To my knowledge this hasn't been pulled off yet; actually I don't even know if Dragonbane got what they applied for.

 - Markus
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M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2005, 07:57:35 PM »

Count me in with Mike on wanting more information about doctoral work in role playing game theory. I've got my J.D., but am interested in adding a Ph.D. to my degrees largely for academic credentials reasons.

--M. J. Young
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Montola
Member

Posts: 36


« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2005, 01:47:01 AM »

In Role-Playing in Academia thread.

Best,

 - Markus

PS. I'll publish my research plan after it's accepted. Might take a month, maybe.
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Callan S.
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Posts: 3588


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« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2005, 01:49:46 PM »

It's really alien to me, to want to come to the forge and just learn everything like your learning a how to use a computer or learning a new language.

Why? Why do many new members come to the forge, deciding to try and digest everything at once and then when they can't, that's a problem to them? Wuts up wit dat technique?
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Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
J B Bell
Member

Posts: 267


« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2005, 02:08:41 PM »

This is in the way of a quibble, but you most certain can cite Forge postings, at least if you are using the APA standard.  For example:

"In order to have role-playing studies, you must give it birth from other disciplines." (Montola, 26 Oct 2005)

Ta-daaa!

--JB

Reference list

Montola, M. (2005, Oct 26). Role-playing in academia. Message posted to The Forge, archived at http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=17400.0
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"Have mechanics that focus on what the game is about. Then gloss the rest." --Mike Holmes
J. Tuomas Harviainen
Member

Posts: 127


« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2005, 12:56:34 AM »

Why do many new members come to the forge, deciding to try and digest everything at once and then when they can't, that's a problem to them?

At least for me it's not about digesting it all, but about being able to utilize elsewhere what I see here. Forum posts are exceedingly difficult to properly quote in an academic environment, because by themselves they generally lack the intrinsic contextualization that formulated articles have. To understand one post, you have to read several others, but far too often it's not possible to deduce from that one thread which of the thousands of other threads you also need  to read in order to understand what is being said. And writing such context lists for outsiders into the articles where you quote one thread is rarely feasible. Like JB states, threads can indeed be used for quotation, but in my experience they're far less credible than formulated articles are. Especially since academic role-playing research/theory still most often has to deal with text-quality reviewers who are laymen when it comes to rpg theory, but extremely academicia-concerned when it comes to methodology.

Therefore it's very hard to reproduce many forgean views in a sufficiently complete form elsewhere, and that's what bothers me. To not have convenient academic-level (or even academic-style) access tools to one of the leading rpg theory producing think tanks in the world means that many rpg theorists have to ignore key forgean contributions (a big chunk of all that's not in the archived articles, including many further developments of the stuff that is in them) if they want to write academically acceptable material. I think that's a damn shame.

-Jiituomas
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Mark Johnson
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Posts: 238


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« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2005, 07:59:47 AM »

A modest proposal:

Have a robust article section on the Forge featuring a certain number of new articles in a given time.  It would need to be overseen by an editor(s) to oversee the Article area of the site if Ron and Clinton don't want to oversee it directly (though the editor would still ultimately be accountable to R&C).

Axe the RPG Theory and GNS Discussion as active forums and create an Article Submission Forum with a fairly strict set of guidelines for submissions and the post submission discussion process.  Insist that all threads must begin with a the submitter posting the article that they are working on its current form and allow open critiques from all members of the Forge community (including the editors) within the individual article threads. 

Let the submitter revise their article based on this criticism.  And at some point, the editor would post the article when the editor and author thinks that it is complete and has sufficiently addressed the criticisms and would be of interest to either members of the Forge or the RPG community at large.
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timfire
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« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2005, 09:11:25 AM »

A modest proposal...

As it stands right now, I believe, pretty much anyone who wants to can write an article and have it posted in the articles section. Though I haven't done it myself, I've discussed the possibility with Ron and he has always been gracious. He has told me that if I provide him a draft, he will look it over and give me comments. While I don't want to speak for him, I'm pretty sure he would do that for anyone.

So in other words, there's nothing stopping anyone from doing what you have proposed right now.

But one thing to consider is that the purpose of the Forge isn't to discuss & develop theory---it's to promote independent publishing. The theory is a by-product. As a community, we have no academic aspirations, publishing is our focus. We don't care if people learn the theory because theory isn't neccessary for writing or playing games. It helps, but isn't neccesary.

Another issue is that here in the US, there is no academic arena for discussing RPGs (that I'm aware of). For the most part, here in the US, the only people that discuss Forge theory are the members of the Forge community. So you must realize that we have no real incentive for writing such an article.
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--Timothy Walters Kleinert
Mark Johnson
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Posts: 238


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« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2005, 10:45:39 AM »

For the most part, here in the US, the only people that discuss Forge theory are the members of the Forge community. So you must realize that we have no real incentive for writing such an article.

Very true, but I would like to see more articles here whether theoretical, aesthetic or practical.  I see a lot of threads and series of threads here about topics that would make great articles, but since the ideas are developed in different forums and threads at different times, they don't make for very coherent reading, even for Forge regulars. 

RPG Theory and the GNS forum may be axed at some point in the future anyway.  One negative consequence of this would be a lack of further refinement of the theories discussed here.  Having a more disciplined, results based approach might allow continued work on the Big Model etc without the problem of undirected discourse that would help cause these forums to be dissolved in the first place.

Still, a total Actual Play/Indie Design focus might be just what the Forge needs.  A new place to develop these ideas would then hopefully develop.  While I do enjoy the Forge diaspora bloggers, they lack the focus and communal drive that helped develop so many of the theories and designs that have originated here.

Perhaps this belongs in Site Discussion.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2005, 10:59:38 AM »

Mark,

Your modest proposal already exists. What you have described is, exactly, the site policy.

As always, when someone says, "Gee, the Forge needs an article like this," I say, "Thank you for volunteering." The number of submissions to date, over the past three or four years, is less than ten.

Best,
Ron
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J. Tuomas Harviainen
Member

Posts: 127


« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2005, 11:04:37 AM »

For the most part, here in the US, the only people that discuss Forge theory are the members of the Forge community. So you must realize that we have no real incentive for writing such an article.

Precisely. But unless something changes, that will lead to forgean contributions being ignored as "insignificant" or "too hard to access" - or, eventually, "obsolete". I'd /really/ hate to see that happen, as it would lead to both re-inventing the proverbial wheel (especially as far as design-level theory is concerned) and to forgetting the significant contributions people have made here.

As a personal counterpoint to what's been said: I have absolutely no external incentives to do field testing on rpg theory, to create articles, or to conduct extensive academic-level field research at my own expense. I'll never get a degree out of this, or money, or reputation. Yet I devote a very significant part of my time and resources to such work anyway, in order to promote the general understanding and acceptance of role-playing games on an academic level.. So I know from personal experience that this isn't just a question of incentives, but also a question of whether one simply wants to contribute on that level. I'm almost certain that several other theory authors feel the same way - for instance, I doubt Chris Lehrich got any academic credit or finacial benefit for writing "Ritual Discourse". That approach is certainly not for everyone, but what I'm hoping to see is even just one volunteer now and then who'll summarize key points as they come up..

As a comment to Mark's post (which appeared as I was writing this): I'm definitely against a singular design focus: In order to produce high-quality games, the design needs to be connected to the development of theory, even though such theory and speculation may occasionally cause problems to the forum. Without theory, the design would slow down (and maybe even die due to repetition and lack of innovation). Without design, there would be far less field results to prove whether certain points of theory are cortrect. It's a symbiosis, despite the occasional conflicts.

-Jiituomas
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Callan S.
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« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2005, 08:28:06 PM »

Hi Jiituomas,

I think what your seeing as a problem is more like a set of seperate tools. Like you get a brush from here, but then you have to go over here for a paint pot, then over there for a canvas. How can you quote painting to someone else, when all that it's composed of is scattered around?

Perhaps the forge really isn't to be seen as being about defining the heart of roleplay for academic demonstration. More it just defines a bunch of tools, and you see the heart of roleplay for various individual designers in the games they make.


Hi Ron,

Speaking of that, awhile ago I had a post about rating peoples desires in game, numerically, then looking at the relationships between the numbers. You mentioned it would make a good article, but I found that when I went to write a rough draft, I had no 'sell' for it, it didn't really work on any particular problem. Writing an articile with a 'here is...something...you make heads or tails of it and see if you can apply it somewhere' seems rather scatty to me. What does your forge policy think about that?
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Philosopher Gamer
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2005, 08:34:05 PM »

Hi Callan,

"Forge policy" thinks that if an article is any good, it gets posted.

Best,
Ron
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J. Tuomas Harviainen
Member

Posts: 127


« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2005, 12:58:24 AM »

I think what your seeing as a problem is more like a set of seperate tools. <snip> Perhaps the forge really isn't to be seen as being about defining the heart of roleplay for academic demonstration. More it just defines a bunch of tools, and you see the heart of roleplay for various individual designers in the games they make.

This (again) is precisely the point. The Forge theory process is obviously about implementing ideas into games, not for academic or theory-for-the-sake-of-theory reasons. Yet while doing speculation and research for production's sake, the site also creates material usable for pure theory as well - material that often /really deserves/ to be taken into account in academic discourse about role-playing. In its current form the material is often too hard to access properly for that purpose. A secondary purpose, yes, but a significant purpose nevertheless. And to bypass that external-access problem, we'd really need the occasional new article or "university-level engineering" style stage-by-stage game design report.

-Jiituomas
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