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Author Topic: "We fear change!"  (Read 18034 times)
hardcoremoose
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2002, 10:29:12 AM »

Silkworm,

I agree.  I think this is a dangerous thread, at least to some degree.  I secretly always wonder what the lurkers out there are thinking when they see stuff like this, and with that in mind, it was very difficult for me to compose even the simple little response I did somewhat earlier in this thread.

On one hand, I want to answer Matt's question.  In some ways, I felt kind of responsible for this thread.  After all, I privately encouraged him to post about Nine Worlds, but then failed to present him with any valuable feedback.

On the other, I want to avoid sending a message to newer members that might give them the wrong impression.  I truly, honestly want new, creative game designers to have a place to post their designs, to enjoin in discussion a few levels higher than they might get elsewhere, and to feel comfortable in a community that's all their own.  

That community exists, but it's not always going to be everything everyone wants it to be.  

For my part, I've never lost that sense of community.  I've made friends through The Forge - people I e-mail with, phone with, and even hang out with socially - and this is still the place we have in common.  This is the place we come to talk about games, connect with other people, and maybe make some more friends in the process.  What could better than that?

Take care,
Scott
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Matt Snyder
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Posts: 1380


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« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2002, 10:29:32 AM »

First off, before I go "rebutting" you point, I'm with you man. I actually agree with what you've said, so I offer these observations mostly under the "yeahbut" principal, as in "Yeah, but ... "

Quote from: Jonathan Walton

I think the key point here is FOR WHOM is the value of the Forge diminishing?  Obviously, a lot of the "innovative" ideas that get posted nowadays are old hat to long-timers.  You've seen them before.  You've discussed them before.  You don't really have anything else to say on the subject.  However, for many of us "newbies," this may be the first time we encounter such things, and they are still worth discussing.  Still, there is a tendency for old timers to crack down on this with comments like "well, here's a list of 5 other games, some of which were never finished or published, that do the exact same thing."


Yep, you've nailed one of my pet peeves -- when the "old timers" drop in, say, "Been there, done that. Read this: <link>" To me, that's off-putting. To a newbie, it might be downright frustrating, if not insulting, especially if that's all the person says.

The counter is that these folks HAVE been there, done that. Many times. So, I can sympathize at not wanting to say the same thing over and over. Problem is, it's not really good feedback, and certainly not feedback that encourages new community members, that fosters community. It reeks of "grumpy-old-man-ism." These kids today can't innovate like we used to. Such crap. That may not be the intention (in fact, I know it's not), but I really think it is the result or reaction from new folks. Saying that's the new folks' "problem" is irresponsible.

That's one reason among a handful of why I agree with you the Forge is becoming less useful for EVERYONE.

Quote from: Jonathan Walton

However, I would be willing to bet that the sense of "community" the Forge has didn't spring up overnight.  It grew out of a whole series of interactions.  ... <snip> ... I'm also willing to bet that you guys didn't start out saying "oh, we've seen this before."  That is only a reflection of the depth of experience you have all gained by participating in this community.  Once the newer arrivals have that much info under their belts, they'll begin doing the same thing.


Yep, you're right. The Forge has a long history that extends far back, beyond the Forge even. I'm a relatively new fella here myself, relatively speaking in that regard.

Quote from: Jonathan Walton

I think what you're lamenting is the loss of the old sense of community.  That doesn't mean that the Forge can no longer be a community, just that it must become a different community than it was before.


Close, but not quite. I already said I'm perfectly aware change is necessary at this point. That's fine, truly. I'm not whining that the "good old days" are changing. I'm lamenting the fact that the people whose viewpoints were really valuable then simply aren't around anymore. It isn't just "old guard" changing. Lately, it's been almost dead. There's a difference. I'm saying that the new community is nearly devoid of input from the old schoolers, not that the new folks have outnumbered their posts, for example.
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Matt Snyder
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Posts: 1380


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« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2002, 10:46:00 AM »

Silkworm,

I truly think you're reacting emotionally to an issue I have yet to contend. I have NOT said at any point that I have a problem with new folks coming to the Forge. In fact, I have said precisely the opposite.

What I DID say was this: The folks who used to make the Forge really rewarding, the folks who used to foster new folks (like me, once) simply aren't as present and active as they used to be.

What's so hard to understand about that, folks? More than one person has missed this point.

Change here is inevitable. Adaptation and consistent quality is not.

As of right now, the Indie Game Design forum has lots and lots of neato ideas, and far, far less of the guiding hand and advice and criticism that used to keep those ideas sharp and engaging, even worthwhile to others working on other projects.

Oh, and I've got to say, when the hell did criticism of a potentially "politically incorrect" issue at the Forge become such a danger? Where the fuck are all those voices I keep saying I'm missing? I know Scott Knipe and M.J. Young and compnay aren't the only one's with opinions. I may have ticked someone off. So it goes. I'd rather have risked that, than shut up for fear of "politics" then later abandoned the Forge because it became something I can't enjoy or value.

Quote from: silkworm

Oh, and before you jump to any conclusions, I'm not taking this thread as a personal attack because I'm a newer member. And I personally have no intentions of leaving the Forge. I'm just VERY angry at what I see as basically undermining the makings of A Good Thing (tm), namely, a LARGE community of polite, articulate gamers. How could that POSSIBLY be a bad thing??????


So, this isn't a personal attack, and yet you're "VERY" angry and can't politely articulate how pissed you are? That sounds like speaking out of both sides of you mouth to me. Either you're pissed off or you ain't. I've yet to meet a person who gets pissed and magically doesn't take it personal.

The reason this could "POSSIBLY be a bad thing" is pretty subjective frankly. It's crochety "old" fools like me saying this place ain't what it used to be. It ain't. Others -- like Jonathan Walton, himself a newbie -- says he sees the same thing when he examines old posts. They're there for you to check out to. I recommend doing so! There's great stuff there. There's some great stuff now, too, just far less frequently than I'm used to seeing, and I truly believe that's not just because there are so many new posts. I think it's because there are just fewer good, solid, content-ridden posts that the Forge became so respected (and hated!) for.

But, if you'd read my post again, please, you'll realize I'm saying so because the people who made it what it "used" to be aren't around much anymore. It's NOT that they're outnumbered, they just aren't here.

Quote from: hardcoremoose

For my part, I've never lost that sense of community.  I've made friends through The Forge - people I e-mail with, phone with, and even hang out with socially - and this is still the place we have in common.  This is the place we come to talk about games, connect with other people, and maybe make some more friends in the process.  What could better than that?


Scott, I realize that's the case -- that many of the folks I'm talking about converse regularly. But they do so more and more frequently in private discourse. You and I do that fairly regularly (not least of all because we collaborated on a project). I chat with one or two other of the folks I'm talking here, but not many others. I'm saying that since the old guard went "indoors" more often I don't get to interact with them anymore. Lots of folks seem to have taken their ball and gone home.  I just really liked playing ball with them!
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Clay
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Posts: 550


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« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2002, 10:54:32 AM »

Here's an idea that might help restore the depth of discussion.

Rgulate the flow of new topics to the Indie Game Design forum. This requires someone (or someones) to act as gatekeepers, deciding which topics get talked about and which don't. This weeds out "not ready for prime time" topics, and the "been there, don that" topics. The obvious drawback is that there's a lot of work involved for someone, and the role is hideously political.  In short, all of the filthy allegations about "X wouldn't let my game be discussed on The Forge" would suddenly become reality.

This, of course, still changes the nature of The Forge. We would in effect accept one problem to alleviate another. It's an idea, though.
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Clay Dowling
RPG-Campaign.com - Online Campaign Planning and Management
Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2002, 10:58:21 AM »

Quote from: Matt Snyder
I'm not whining that the "good old days" are changing. I'm lamenting the fact that the people whose viewpoints were really valuable then simply aren't around anymore.


Well, if that's your real point (and one I totally agree with), then I think this thread has drifted dangerously off-topic (into newbie-bashing and newbies being overly-defensive).

Still, to try to bring things back on course, I would almost say that this is a natural progression.  Older members doubtlessly aren't as enraptured by the "coolness" of the Forge as I am, and aren't going to be able to commit as much time to answering posts that don't really interest them.  Sure, it may suck that the old timers don't get a voice in every thread, but that mainly has to do with the ratio of old/new, which is what some people are using this thread to complain about ("There's too many of them!  Ahhhh!").

However, like it or not, newbies are a pretty good audience for other newbies.  Often, they can provide better support (if not better advice) than old timers, because they are more sympathetic.  Hell, I may have only been aware of The Forge for a month, but that doesn't mean I know jack about game design.  I'm not Ron or Clinton, but I shouldn't have to be.  I can give a thoughtful, respectful response to a game design, just like anyone else.  And I've been used to writing on high-quality mailing lists for long enough that I could tell someone when they're out of place or missing the point.  This is true of a great many people who join the Forge.

I guess I'm funally understanding your concern, Matt, but I'm unsure about what you're suggesting we do about it.  We can't make the old timers write posts and we can't limit the number of newbies or their enthusiasm for posting.

So what's your solution?

Later.
Jonathan
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Bankuei
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« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2002, 10:58:56 AM »

Ok, let's stop the whining and really look at what we want, and what we can do to get it.

Matt, you're looking for a specific type of input.  Lay it out for folks so people know what you're looking for, whether they be new or old.  Here's my list:

•Intelligent, focused, polite conversation
•Clear communication(you don't have to agree with the terminology, just be aware of it)
•Applied theory, and exploring the limits of game theory

Second, the "Here, check this out" thing is not to tell folks to not  to design games, but to say, "Here's something someone else did, maybe you can do it better, or differently"  

If you came to me to talk about a game you came up with about kicking a ball, I'd tell you to check out soccer and kickball, not to discourage you, but as research.  If you love your idea, you want it to be good, you want to make sure you know all of your options and what you can really do with it.

As Ron put with Fantasy Heartbreakers, a lot of design assumes that certain things are necessary, which are not in any way.  A lot of the threads or games folks get pointed to are a quick way towards breaking those assumptions and opening new horizons.  You may find that something that sounded bad in theory is great in actual play, or vice versa.  

One thing the Forge has done that I appreciate more than anything else is that it assumes you're an adult, and treats you that way.  You are expected to provide clear reasoning, you are expected to read and acknowledge others points.  You are capable of going into the archives and researching for yourself.  If you're really interested, you'll take the effort and the responsibility for your design.  People will guide you, clarify, and be willing to hear new ideas from you, but I don't think anyone's going to hold anyone's hand.  

The only 'elitism' I've seen here is that you are assumed to be an intelligent functioning adult capable of upholding the basic social contract of politeness and reasoned discussion and treated as such.

If we're going to be doing anything productive here, let's look at what people are looking for from the Forge and how to encourage it.

Chris
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2002, 11:01:13 AM »

Hey now, I'm an old-timer, but I post more often now than used to, even more than before I went into lurk mode for that extended period.

Just FYI and to maybe diffuse any black-and-white viewpoints anyone might be spouting. Then again, maybe my input sucks! Who knows.

However, the solution is obvious, to me, at least: there hasn't BEEN a changing of the guard, yet. What needs to happen is for the "middle-guard" to become the old guard by becoming more LIKE the old-guard...or perhaps that won't happen until after the newbies have settled in.

Vicious societal cycles.

Simply, there needs to be an exchange of information or "leadership" responsibilities that makes us say, "Oh HIM, we should listen HIM because he always has good things to say."

This developed naturally when the site first bloomed, due the usual interactions of members as they felt out their roles and learned about one another. Now, it may need to be ritualized in some fashion, public or obscure.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Matt Snyder
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« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2002, 11:14:41 AM »

Quote from: Bankuei
Ok, let's stop the whining and really look at what we want, and what we can do to get it.

Matt, you're looking for a specific type of input.  Lay it out for folks so people know what you're looking for, whether they be new or old.


A fair point (and thanks for your list).

My list: The really shitty thing about my list? It's effectively asking people other than myself to do stuff. Not something I'm inclined to suggest often ... oh well.

1) No. 1 and above all: Stonger adherence to Forge policies and stricter enforcement of those policies. Ron has already communicated that he's looking for help from others in limited ways. I'm simply saying I think this isn't as strict as it used to be. It was notorious. It was also notoriously good and effective.

2) A "state of the union" address from both Ron and Clinton on this and other Forge issues. It's been long enough now, I think, that I'd like to hear from the powers that be where they think the Forge is going and what role they'll have in shaping it. And, what role they expect from everyone else.

3) More frequent feedback from folks who've designed game here on the Forge. Basically, though not exclusively, these are the Moderators -- folks with forums of their on here at the Forge.

4) The continued, adult discussion that makes the Forge have such a high signal-to-noise ratio. This is good stuff. It ain't dead yet. Hardly so. But I want to see that ratio kept high!
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2002, 11:35:56 AM »

Huh, I couldn't get through to The Forge this morning, and look what I miss.

I post more now than ever. In fact, I daresay I post at least twice what anyone else does. When told that I should not post "been there, done that" posts, I stopped posting to those threads where that was the case entirely, and that was all I had to say. Now I'm bad for not responding? I have an obligation of some sort to write to everyone who posts?

There is more material here than before. One can only post so many times a day. I'm averageing about ten a day lately, and frankly, I doubt that I could possibly post more. So what do I do?

The only thing I can do is filter, and post to the things that interest me most, or to which I think I have the most to offer. Am I wrong?

Matt, I wanted to see Dreamspires, and you gave me something else. You knew what I wanted to see. And you're surprised that I am not responding to your new game? Many of the games presented of late are about metaphysics, a subject that I am bored to death of. Am I obligated to respond to these? Sorry, just not interested anymore.

As for anybody else, well, I can only control my own actions, and don't care much to try to influence others.

Mountains, molehills. This too shall pass. I think people frett too much.

Anyone who wants to contact me directly to ask a question or to direct my attention to something in particular is free to do so, and will get a response. I have a personal address, and love to get mail.

Mike
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2002, 11:46:29 AM »

Everyone,

The Forge, like most things, is cyclic. For example, I haven't posted at all recently. This is mainly from hermitism caused by unemployment. It's a great time to donate to the Forge, by the way. :)

I'm about to start posting heavily again as I settle in for the long no-job haul. I'm sure many of the "old guard" are taking a breather, too - we've all been amazingly productive. Look at all the great games that have come out recently or will come out soon, all started here.

A state of the union is coming, by the way - very, very soon. I'd expect next week.

Lastly, I think one reason you see less discussion from "old-timers" is that they've diversified their discussions. I have most of my serious RPG talk over the phone these days with a few friends, partially to recall that original Forge feeling.

This is the chrysalis of the Forge, folks. We started as a hardy, kick-ass caterpillar. We're changing and molting and becoming something bigger and different than we were. Hang on through the changing times, and I imagine you'll find it to be great.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Valamir
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« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2002, 11:49:37 AM »

Well I'll step in here, and maybe bail you out a bit Matt.

I know exactly the sentiment that you're talking about, and there is a bit of a sense of loss on my part as well.  That loss being the somewhat cozy nature of a number of articulate people who knew each other (electronically speaking) very well from having had relationships here and other other forums for some time.

But that has been replaced with a larger number of articulate people who don't know each other very well yet and those relationships are still being felt out.

I think in the long run this is a good and welcome thing (and I know you do to).

But in the meantime what about the participation of those older members...has that dropped off?

To some extent I think it has and that this is a natural progression of the site.  When many of us came to the Forge as a dissatisfied gamer seeking solutions to our problems we were all eagerly discussing, absorbing, debateing and at time argueing as we looked for those solutions.  Now hopefully, many of us have found (at least in part) solutions that (at least for now) satisfy us and allow us to return to enjoying our gaming.  So in that regard part of the decline in "old guard" posts may (hopefully this isn't wishfull thinking) be the result of people spending more time productively gaming and producing and who have less need of searching for answers.

Also "Old Guard" posting has dropped off a little intentionally (and there are a few requests by Ron for exactly this).  There is a danger when making "Old Guard" "New Guard" distinctions for the "Old Guard" to become the scholarly mentors and the "New Guard" be perpetually relegated to apprentice student.  By standing back and letting the "New Guard" take the lead in discussions of new games and new ideas we establish them as full members and no longer "newbies".

I find myself posting less and less but rather enjoying watching Jonathan and Chrisstopher et.al. (to many to list all of you, sorry) take a lead roll in the discussions.  For one hearing the same thing from the same people a hundred times (or in the case of Mike H. and I...a thousand times) gets pretty old.  Hearing other people articulate the same concepts in new ways is a good thing.  Further, to extend the analogy of the "guiding hand", if indeed the "Old Guard" served as a such a guideing hand, than certainly we'd hope that the people we helped guide are now in a position to be guides themselves.

If the new Indie Design threads aren't as detailed as they used to be, I suppose there are several likely contributing factors.  It could be that the "New Guard" is just beginning to feel their own way through the "guiding hand" process and will become more experienced at it as they go.  It could be that some of the "New Guard" aren't certain yet that they "should" be offering advice and may be holding back waiting for "Old Guard" input.  Hopefully a sentiment not held by many and quickly overcome.

A large part of it I think is that there are more new ideas on the Indie Design forum at one time than I have ever seen before.

To some extent this is a "good thing".  It means that the reputation of the Forge as a place for good game design advice is spreading and that as a crucible for new ideas we're growing.  However, it does mean that we need to work hard to preserve that reputation.  Given that it is impossible for the "Old Guard" to possibly give as much detail and attention to the Indie Design forum when there are 5 new ideas a day as when there was 1 new idea in 5 days, we need to welcome and encourage the "New Guard" shouldering a big part of that burden.

That said, I would welcome "narrowing the choke" so to speak on the Indie Design flood gate, but truly that is for a largely selfish idea...so that I personally can enjoy them all, which now I can't because there are at least 1/2 a dozen I haven't even had time to read (and given that I'm on the Forge more than 9/10s of the active members that says something right there).

This also leads me to ask new posters of ideas to be patient.  We just can't generate 2 dozen deeply inciteful comments for each new idea as we used to be able to when the pace was slower.  To give the best analysis of your new ideas that we can, we need your help.  That help includes following the forum policy guidelines (which could perhaps be expanded upon and reemphasized), taking in good stride the posting of older links.  In all honesty its a huge time saver for us to have you read the older threads rather than retype all of those ideas over again, and ideally it should help newcomers learn some of the collective history of the site (so far everyone seems to be doing this with good cheer...thanks for that).  

So to summarize, I think the answer to "where have all the old guard gone?" is
1) a step or two back to give the new guard the opportunity to step forward.
and ideally
2) we're off enjoying playing and busily designing again where before coming here we were struggling.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2002, 11:59:41 AM »

Hi there,

I'm happy to let people use this thread to vent a bit, discover one another's spiky edges a bit, and perhaps embarass themselves a bit. It's Site Discussion after all, and a certain amount of "spray" is expected.

What matters is that we continue to listen to one another - and, bluntly, to acknowledge it when someone accurately calls you on something. A couple of claims or reactions have been refuted very well so far, but the originators haven't owned up to it, which is not what a discussion here, even a venting one, is for.

Most of what I'd contribute here has already been said, recently, in this thread: Lots of new folks on the Forge, and I urge both Matt and Seth to check that one out if they haven't done so already.

I also think that many folks in our hobby tend very consistently to "gloom and doom" at things. It sucks. It's not like it was. Things are falling apart. We're not accomplishing anything.

Look at some of the net gains lately: how much actual play is turning out to be functional and fun? How many really great games have shown up lately, in various stages of development, and demonstrably benefited? (Answer: Lots! If you think otherwise, you're not looking.) What's the proportion among truly acrimonious vicious theory-discussion? (Way down; remember one year ago?) Has that theory-discussion moved to new places, never before discussed? (Yes! The LARP and computer-RPG discussions, for example.)

Matt, I suggest, just as I did with Paul a while ago, that you take a bit of time for self-reflection. You've been absent from the Forge since GenCon. You show up now, you look left & right for a matter of days, and you have a big reaction - and now that reaction is escalating into an anxiety or dissatisfaction.

I think the Forge is doing extremely well, pending what I called for in the thread I linked to above, as well as in the recent Moderators forum thread which you have access to (and I hope you've read). Also, a hell of a lot of discussion is going on behind the scenes about where to go from here, and perhaps, especially as a moderator, you might consider asking me or Clinton about that before assuming it's not happening.

Best,
Ron
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Kester Pelagius
Member

Posts: 508


« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2002, 12:12:13 PM »

Quote from: Clay
Here's an idea that might help restore the depth of discussion.

Rgulate the flow of new topics to the Indie Game Design forum. This requires someone (or someones) to act as gatekeepers, deciding which topics get talked about and which don't. This weeds out "not ready for prime time" topics, and the "been there, don that" topics. The obvious drawback is that there's a lot of work involved for someone, and the role is hideously political.  In short, all of the filthy allegations about "X wouldn't let my game be discussed on The Forge" would suddenly become reality.

This, of course, still changes the nature of The Forge. We would in effect accept one problem to alleviate another. It's an idea, though.


Conversely perhaps we could ask the powers that be to *expand* the Forums.

I am reticent to mention the fact but, once upon a time, I ran a BBS.  It was, as was so many BBSes, a local hobby board.  At first I had but a few message bases.  In time, as my user base grew so, too, did the number of message Forums.  (Mostly because new message areas were requested.)  With more people arriving to a Forum the topical arena of discussion increases.

Thus, now correct me if I am wrong, since the lament seems to be *quantity* of posts over *quality* perhaps it is time to suggest an expansion of the Forums?

(I know someone mentioned this earlier on, my apologies for forgeting who.)

Of course if we, the memebers, don't suggest solutions then how can the powers that be do anything about what is percieved as a problem?

So, if I may, what sort of Forums would you like to see if new Forums could be added to The Forge?


Kind Regards.
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"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri
Kester Pelagius
Member

Posts: 508


« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2002, 12:16:45 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
I think the Forge is doing extremely well, pending what I called for in the thread I linked to above, as well as in the recent Moderators forum thread which you have access to (and I hope you've read). Also, a hell of a lot of discussion is going on behind the scenes about where to go from here, and perhaps, especially as a moderator, you might consider asking me or Clinton about that before assuming it's not happening.


There is something to be said for reading to an end of a thread before posting.  As Ron says all is well and in hand...

Apologies for the previous post.  Was just a idea.


Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius
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"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
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« Reply #29 on: October 31, 2002, 12:23:27 PM »

Hi Kester,

It was a good call on your part, though. The funny thing is that we did expand the forums not long ago, into their current two-page arrangement. I like it a lot, as it happens (and it doesn't seem to have marginalized the specialty forums as we feared).

As for a new expansion, I'm not sure. I think a stronger commitment on everyone's part to know and to enforce gently the actual focus for each forum would be my first call. Then I'

Just so everyone knows, I make decisions about these things on a very long-term basis. My current thinking is, "What's the Forge to be like, a year from now?" That's a lot different from the "Pissed now! What's changing tomorrow?" expectations that some folks have been known to bring to Site Discussion.

Best,
Ron

P.S. Yes, I know, the Glossary. It's a really damn hard problem, OK? We are talking about it.
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