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Author Topic: State of the curmudgeon  (Read 8390 times)
Paganini
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Posts: 1049


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« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2002, 08:07:11 AM »

I just went over there and read the first five pages or so before I got bored with the whole thing. I think that the whole discussion is futile. What it really comes down to, IMO, is that the great majority of posters over there are not game designers. They do not understand the value of GNS in providing a baseline from which to analyze games. They want to play whatever game carried by the LGS happens to be kewel. Here at the forge we upset the status quo. People here question the traditional methods and assumptions and try to improve them. The Forge stands for change in many ways, and change is frightening to the Estabilshment, of which many gamers at RPG.net are a part.

At the same time, the level of ignorance and misinformation there is staggering. Many of the posters seem to be at about the same stage of understanding as I was a year ago... they have some interesting terms to throw around, and they think they know what they mean. (The difference is that, as a designer, I was excited by the prospect, and extremely interested to learn more about it, while, as gamers, they seem to be deathly frightened by it their own incorrect preconceptions.) They've decided they know all about Ron, the Forge and indie-gaming, and flame on about "Ron's Cult," how "People At The Forge Don't Play Games - They Only Indulge In A Lot Of Useless Eliteist Analysis," how "Ron Has Misinterpereted GNS," how "Ron Is An Arrogant **** Who Won't Allow Disagreement," etc. It would take weeks or months of individual explanation just to get them to the point of knowledge where they could intelligently discuss the GNS model.

<RANT - better here than at RPG.net, right? :)>
BAAAH! Word's cant convey my disgust at such apparent willful ignorance. All they have to do is click a couple of links, read the Forge forums and articles, talk to Ron a bit. What could be easier?
</RANT>

IMO, discussion with them is pretty pointless. It's impossible to defend one's position against ignorantly preconcieved notions. Stubborn uninformed opinions win out every time. In my past experience, long threads in such cases serve no purpose except to get yourself upset, and take a lot of time that could be better spent designing games. If it were me in a thread of that type, I hope I would do the following:

Make a single, large post that accurately and concisely describes:

GNS, explaining Ron's technical terms, quoting from his articles where possible, and providing links to them. [Edit: Emphasizing that GNS classifies choices made in specific game instances, and games desgined to facilitate making those choics, as opposed to determining whether or not a game is "good" or "bad."]

The style of discussion and nature of the community here on the forums, with the emphasis on shared ideas, actual play, and application of theory, giving links to example threads.

Explain that Ron is not, in fact, an egotistical idiot. In fact, just the other day I was teasing him with a "Great One" comment, and he very seriously asked me to stop, explaining that he doesn't want to foster the view that his ideas are special or authoritive. How anyone could get the idea that "Ron doesn't tollerate disagreement," or "Ron think's he has the definitive answers" from such behavior is beyond me.
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Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
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« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2002, 08:07:40 AM »

Hi Walt,

Those are a lot of excellent points. I'm going to pull some parts of your post together and see if it can be used as a basis for a "recommended tactic" at RPG.net, next time around. The ultimate goal isn't an expected policy, just a recommendation.

... what brought me here was the fact, evident over many posts, that the people representing The Forge were saying interesting and challenging things in an intelligent and rational manner. For better or worse, I don't believe the one solid post of sensible welcome approach would have done it.

I buy this. Just giving the link may not be enough (contra my suggestion above to do just that). It's a matter of modelling behavior to others and having them think, "Hey, if they talk and act like that on-line, I wanna see what it's like over there," and with any luck having that look-see pay off positively.

... promoting GNS as a diagnostic tool for the average suffering role player may be unwise.
... Telling me, "well if DeWalt tools work for you, then there's no problem, my advice is for these other nice people over here" doesn't decrease my annoyance. If you're right and I know you're right I wouldn't be annoyed, but it's impossible to perceive that you're right when my only data point says you're wrong.
...much of
[the hostility] arises from what the model itself does and is designed to do and there may be no getting around that.

OK, that now establishes the question. If we wouldn't do as well to say nothing but "here's the link," and if hostility/discomfort is quite likely given certain elements of what we're saying ... what then? What, precisely, is most effective, honest, and constructive to say?

Again, this isn't supposed to be a pamphlet for all good little proselytizers to memorize. (1) I'm asking, not telling. (2) I'd prefer that we come up with customizable principles rather than factoids/phrases.

Oh yeah, one more thing: the Forge is not GNS; GNS is not the Forge. That seems to be something that's confounding matters too.

All input is welcome.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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Posts: 5574


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« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2002, 08:20:16 AM »

Some of the principals are pretty obvious.

In most of the rant threads over there there are one or two individuals who actually express an interest to learn more and are not just spouting off.  Those people should be responded to directly, using their names at the top of the post to help differentiate it from the detrius answering their questions as clearly and concisely as possible (and where possible) providing a link to a pertinent thread on the subject

An aside:  Ron you are usually quick with the Thread search functions, perhaps it would be useful to compile a list of Threads that focus best on certain oft repeated topics and include links to those threads in a Sticky post at the top of the site forum...a sort of index of hot topics that new comers can be directed to "Hey if you're new, read these first" kind of thing.

I don't visit RPG.net much currently, but I'm sure those who do and who follow the threads involving GNS recognize a few regulars who do not and will not try to understand and who willfully seek to denegrate GNS and the Forge.  Those folks should just be flat out ignored, and if someone starts to get baited by such a person, someone else who recognizes it can issue private message warning.

Obvious flamebait and trolls that post out right lies should be responded to, because lies allowed to stand become percieved as truth.  But the response should be a simple curt "that statement is absolutely not true" followed by links to threads that demonstrate such.  But decending into arguement might be fun, but serves no useful purpose in promoting the Forge.

Stealth Advocacy.  There are many good threads and legitimate queries for assistance to be found at RPG.Net and other places.  Forgeites should involve themselves in those threads and give good advice drawing upon the things we talk about, but do so with absolutely no jargon whatsoever.  The minute you say one of the buzz words the response will go from "Thanks for that great advice", to "Oh man, not more of that GNS crap".  If anyone seems to be interested in knowing more, direct them to a pertinant Forge thread.

Thats what I come up with.
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Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2002, 08:26:48 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Oh yeah, one more thing: the Forge is not GNS; GNS is not the Forge. That seems to be something that's confounding matters too.


This is an important point, I have mixed views on GNS and don't find it personally all that useful.

However, I find many other things here are useful.

The Forge covers more than GNS theory, that is just one forum.  Actual Play, RPG Theory, these are far more interesting to me and the real reason I come here.

You don't have to be interested in GNS to find the Forge a productive place.

As an aside, I find the easiest way to deal with GNS criticisms is simply to say "yes, some people don't find it useful but some people find it very helpful indeed.  If you go over to [link to the Forge] they're pretty friendly and you should be able to find out whether it's any use to you."

No need to sell it as a grand theory, no need to argue it works for everyone.  Just say, well, I've found it useful and if other people do that's cool.

Then if they quibble, point them to Ken Hite's reviews of Sorceror and tell them that was produced using GNS theory to assist.  Nothing like product to shut people up.

Finally, I think it is best if people consciously strive to avoid posts here implying that this place is in some way superior to rpg.net or that posters here are somehow better.  Neither is true, the places are simply different and serve different purposes.

Some rpg.netters are bound to wander over here to see what it's really like.  It's best if they see the place as it usually is, which is exceptionally welcoming.
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AKA max
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1153


« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2002, 09:05:25 AM »

Hi Walt,

Yes, I do remember your arrival in the GNS thread a few months ago.  It was my intention to provide not just information but a style of response people found inviting and encouraging of further curiosity.  I hope I was one of the people you spoke of so kindly.

This is why I, too, am not convinced the thread links and a hearty "Hello!" will do the job.  It took me a while to find this place -- even though Jess had told me about it for months -- because without some sort of way in it seemed more trouble than it was worth.  It's simply a big investment to find your way around, get a sense of the place.  The common language, the posting styles -- are all rather unique for a gaming site.

I think the "Hey, you want to talk about this, I'll take the time to talk about this with you," on another site is fine...  Not to bring people to the Forge (which is, of course, NOT GNS), but because we care about this stuff and like to talk about it.  (It's why we're here, after all.)

However, my new big bugaboo/frustration about all this is TIME.  For me at least, those two threads become big drains because there are so many things to correct/explain/rectify/define again/repeat for the third time.

This last round I suddenly thought: "This has already been done before.  It's all right there, on the Forge, the careful explanations, the sorting out, and all."  So it just seemed silly to go through the trouble of doing it again, when several dozen people had been the process and it's already archived!

That's all.  I think links for certain topics might be a really good idea, to avoid reinventing the wheel all over again.

******

Oh, and I too want people to knock off the "aren't we glad we're not RPG.net" nonsense.  RPG.net provides a great service for a lot of gamers. First and foremost, it's such a big beacon for so many gamers that it provides a clearing house of links, games and ideas people might never otherwise find.

I probably never would have found The Forge without RPG.net  It also gets a lot of press out on other games that are small, but not indie. (Nobilis2 is going to gets sales because of RPG.net, not The Forge).  They provide articles and discussion for a certain style of play that many people enjoy.

So knock it off, already.

******

Finally, the GNS / The Forge distinction, while true, is problematic.  Let's note that in Actual Play, and most of the game boards below, the GNS model is used as both scalpel and gauze during discussion.  I'm not saying this is good or bad (I think it good), but to say, "Well, come on over and don't worry about GNS" is a bit disingenuous.  The terms are used, if you play you're going to have to learn them, and that means learning GNS.

Just something to think about.

Christopher
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Clinton R. Nixon
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Posts: 2624


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« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2002, 09:17:25 AM »

Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
Oh, and I too want people to knock off the "aren't we glad we're not RPG.net" nonsense.  RPG.net provides a great service for a lot of gamers. ... It also gets a lot of press out on other games that are small, but not indie. (Nobilis2 is going to gets sales because of RPG.net, not The Forge).  They provide articles and discussion for a certain style of play that many people enjoy.

So knock it off, already.


Here, here. I'm in total agreement with this statement. (And I bought Nobilis2 specificially because of reading about it on RPG.net - and I'm most impressed.)
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Bankuei
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« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2002, 09:19:21 AM »

I guess one big advantage that I keep forgetting I've been given is that I've seen a lot of what folks were posting about on GO, and then they made the transition here.  I was a straggler, but I already knew what I was looking for.  

Now that I think about it, there's two things that would get me over here if I weren't part of this. First, if any friends recommended it, which is what I try to do for folks who I think could use it, and second, if I were to see a thread in what I'm interested in.

Chris
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2002, 10:26:43 AM »

Quote
I just went over there and read the first five pages or so before I got bored with the whole thing.

Just so you know, there was some very good and substantive (if unfocused) discussion deeper into the thread.

Quote
For better or worse, I don't believe the one solid post of sensible welcome approach would have done it.

Yeah . . . I suppose my support for the "one sensible post" idea is meant more as a tactic when a) You just *know* you don't have the patience to go through this again, or b) the other posters are kinda obviously not the reasonable type.  I'm deeply impressed when Christopher and others jump into flame-threads with intelligent, measured posts.  GB Steve's "GNS Thought Experiment" thread is realtively flame-free, and I think all the reasonable folks (from the Forge or elsewhere) in the other thread are why.

As far as "picking" on RPG.net goes . . . some aspects there (e.g., the regular, silly flamewars) are easy targets.  Some aspects of the Forge are easy targets too (ah, "rampant intellectualism", perhaps?).  An occasional pot-shot at an easy target can be irresistable (I'm sure not immune), but often resisting is a better choice.  If everyone can practice that general resistence, and forgive the hopefully-infrequent breach, we'll all be much better off.

Gordon
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