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Author Topic: I am a Newbie  (Read 5200 times)
Emmett
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Posts: 82


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« on: May 23, 2003, 11:14:27 PM »

I started to think I'd done the wrong thing by joining the forge when I started reading this thread. It took an hour to get through, I could agree with the perspectives of most of the posts. One thing I would point out is that newbies are not always unfruitful.

I have published a 163 page PDF RPG. All origenal system. I have also added to that a 73 page PDF sourcebook.

I have written a 340 page RPG that has artwork and all but It was never done. I could write about that universe forever (and I will later on). I wrote my current publication as a response to this unending game. I wanted to write a "small" game. I have written but not published two sixty page RPGs but felt that they are not complete enough. I guess I'm a compulsive world builder. I don't feel that a game I write is valid unless it is over one hundred pages long.

I have been writing my own RPGs for over 15 years (well before there was an "internet"). I started when I first started playing TSR's Star Fronteirs and decided I would like to do better.

So what kind of Newbie am I? I don't fit the description given here as a thumb up my but dreamer with nothing to show for it. But I am a Newbie. I am mostly ignorant of what the "regulars" would expect of me.

All I'm saying is, because you don't know me, don't judge who I am because you haven't heard of me. I'm not anything great but if there is one thing I am it's persistant, stubborn, block headed etc.

Cowboys never quit!!!

I'm a newbie to the Forge, but I have a bit to give. I jumped head first into the forge (well I've known about it for a year or so) and I am happy to say I have recived exactly the kind of response I would expect. People talking about Role-Playing and how to make games.

I started to feel like Newbies were unwelcome. Now I think they are mearly considered second class. I don't know if I'll continue to post here for the forseeable future, on the one hand I like the conversation but it takes time to engage in the forum, time I could and should be putting out my second sourcebook or working on the third. If there is one commodity I do not have it is time. I will try my hardest to give back to the forum what I take, but I will hold my hand out from time to time. I started by holding my hand out. I guess that was "rude" of me but I have little time for decorum. If I am going to realize a benifit from this forum, I will have to hit the ground running. I could not possibly read all that has come before me. Again, I suppose that's bad form, but with a wife and two kids demanding my attention 30% of the time, and work another 60% I do what I must to keep up the hobby I love.

Apparently the Forge is suffering a bad case of success. The best cure for that is to have a bad attitude about it. Newbies arn't a problem, they are fresh perspectives on how to think of the things you've already thought a hundred times. They also could end up making you stay interested in the forge a little longer. A few years after I got out of High School (eons ago) I felt like I wanted my old friends back. I tracked them down and tried to hang out with them. Dispite all our shared memories, it didn't work. Huh? you say? The forge has grown and moved on. You can try to go back but it just won't work.
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Cowboys never quit!!!
Thomas Tamblyn
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Posts: 105


« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2003, 03:13:44 AM »

Quote from: Emmett
I started to feel like Newbies were unwelcome. Now I think they are mearly considered second class.  

 
I think that the issue is not that newbies are not as good as recognised posters, but to someone who has been on the forge for a while they are an unknown quantity.

I see a thread by designer XX who I recognise and whose stuf interested me in the past and I see a thread by someone I've never heard of.  The newbie COULD have a fantastic idea, but at the moment its more likely (from my perspective) that designer XX's thread might interest me.

Also,  there's been a (necessary for convenience but misleading) shift of the use of 'newbie' in this thread that has changed its meaning from "Someone new to the forge" to "Someone new to the forge who isn't quite sure what he's doing".

So basicaly I don't think anyone here is insulting newbies per-se.
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2003, 06:31:14 AM »

Quote from: Emmett
I have published a 163 page PDF RPG. All origenal system. I have also added to that a 73 page PDF sourcebook.

In that case, you have a lot more that the average person. All too often I had seen a post of "I have an idea for a game..." They get a couple response of "that's cool!" and then that's it. Not follow up. Nothing. This has happened all too often and, Buddah help me, I am also a transgressor in this department.

But I wouldn't worry too much about the stuff you read in this thread. It was mostly blowing off steam. The main thing to keep in mind is that Indie Design is more about helping with your design, not testing idea balloons. Sounds to me like you has 236 pages worth of solid discussion fodder. Not everyone may be interested, but not everyone will be interested in everything.
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M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2003, 10:13:51 AM »

Quote from: Emmett
Newbies arn't a problem, they are fresh perspectives on how to think of the things you've already thought a hundred times.

I've been on quite a few lists and forums, and there's a flaw in this. It isn't that new members don't have valuable things to contribute to the discussions; it's that most of them don't recognize their own insights as things we've heard before.

To divorce the discussion from what happens here, let me talk about the Christian Gamers Guild list. Over there we've got some perennial subjects, things that come up frequently. To pick some in the order of frequency:
    [*]Is magic in games actually evil?[*]Are role playing games really good things, or have we merely rationalized our desire to do something bad?[*]How do you make a game more Christian?[*]Isn't it wrong to have polytheism be real in game worlds?[*]Aren't Psionics just a way to sneak in New Age or Occult magic through a back door?[*]Do RPGs actually promote a pro-violence attitude?[/list:u]Well, you get the idea. The thing is, we go over these issues, some of them as frequently as every six months, some every year or so, because someone who has not been on the list that long thinks that he's got something to say about it that we haven't heard before. I hope we treat such questions politely; I know that we usually start by pointing them to the articles various members have written on each of these subjects, sometimes to previous threads in the archives. We usually do discuss them afresh, and once in a while something comes out that hasn't been seen before, or which had been mentioned previously and since forgotten. But by and large I know my reaction is often, here we go again.

    What's more complicated is that with many of the issues and theories people put forward, not only is what they say not new, we've already been over it and beyond it. It's like someone coming here and posting that they've got a really innovative new die mechanic: instead of rolling one die for a target number, you roll a handful of dice to see how many successes you get. Our first reaction would be, have you seen Vampire: the Masquerade? So many "new" ideas we have have been had by others.

    That doesn't make them bad ideas; it just means you have to go beyond what's already been done to make it worthwhile.

    I run a web site about temporal anomalies in time travel, and I get a fair amount of mail from it. For a while I posted some of the letters I got which asked questions I kept answering, in the hope that people would read those letters and not ask the same questions. It didn't work so well. A lot of people would still write and say, "I haven't read everything yet, but I think this," which I already answered somewhere on the site, or "I read your answer to such-and-such, but I still think you're wrong, for no particular reason that I can express, because I have no understanding of the theory and no time to read how it works." So I wind up answering the same questions anyway. People write to ask whether I've seen movies that are already mentioned on the site; they fire off ill-considered criticisms about one page because they fail to understand what the site is about overall (it's an exposition of a particular theory of time travel which uses popular movies to illustrate, not an effort to understand what, if any, theory a movie uses for its own time travel explanations, except in so far as that theory is relevant by comparison). I treat such letters courteously, and answer the questions; but I do find it a bit annoying to have to tell people again what they could read on the site if they just took the time to do so. Rarely does anyone send me anything I haven't read before.

    I welcome new members on every board or list on which I am a participant; I read many of their posts. I still get the "not this again" feeling from a lot of them. Here, there's a particular annoyance toward those who appear and say that they've read the GNS articles and think it's completely wrong because they don't see anything that way. We obviously have spent a lot of time arguing those issues, leading to the ideas formulated so cogently by Mr. Edwards. Newbies treat it as if it's something hot off the presses that has implications they can see that no one has considered before, without realizing that this has been tested over quite a few years, and such weaknesses as it has are not going to be uncovered by a cursory readthrough.

    That's more than I intended to say (as usual); but I think it's not so much some kind of arrogance on the part of the long-term members as much as a recognition that it takes time to get up to speed here, and to hit the ground running before you've got that as if you're going to revolutionize our thinking is a bit arrogant itself. Sure, sometimes it happens. But I was there when System Does Matter was first published, and butted heads with several other members of this group about it then; I'm a Mensan who had already published one role playing game, had a couple others in development, had designed other games such as board games, and had several degrees in different fields providing a varied background for understanding things--and there are still bits of this that I don't fully understand (the Lumpley principle is a bit vague to me yet, Stance issues versus Credibility issues are a bit blurred around the border--there are things I'm still working through myself). I don't react well to newbies saying it's all wrong. I try to react kindly, but I've learned too much from this to discard it easily.

    Sure, there are good game ideas from newbies, and some of them go far; there is a higher signal-to-noise ratio from people who have a proven track record, though, and you can't blame us for paying more attention to something Ron Edwards or John Kim or Mike Holmes, Ralph Mazza, Emily--the short list is pretty long--than to something from someone we've never seen before and don't yet know if we'll ever see again.

    --M. J. Young
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    Kester Pelagius
    Member

    Posts: 508


    « Reply #4 on: May 24, 2003, 12:10:44 PM »

    Greetings  M. J. Young,

    To preface my remarks, Emmett:  Just because you feel like a "newbie" doesn't mean those who were here ahead of you have anything more (or less) valid to say than you do.  Of course if you don't feel like the community here resonates with your own view of things, that's something else altogher.  Though I think most would agree that everyone is welcome here, with the possible exception of spammers.  :)

    Quote from: M. J. Young
    To divorce the discussion from what happens here, let me talk about the Christian Gamers Guild list. Over there we've got some perennial subjects, things that come up frequently. To pick some in the order of frequency:
      [*]Is magic in games actually evil?[*]Are role playing games really good things, or have we merely rationalized our desire to do something bad?[*]How do you make a game more Christian?[*]Isn't it wrong to have polytheism be real in game worlds?[*]Aren't Psionics just a way to sneak in New Age or Occult magic through a back door?[*]Do RPGs actually promote a pro-violence attitude?[/list:u]Well, you get the idea. The thing is, we go over these issues, some of them as frequently as every six months, some every year or so, because someone who has not been on the list that long thinks that he's got something to say about it that we haven't heard before. I hope we treat such questions politely; I know that we usually start by pointing them to the articles various members have written on each of these subjects, sometimes to previous threads in the archives. We usually do discuss them afresh, and once in a while something comes out that hasn't been seen before, or which had been mentioned previously and since forgotten. But by and large I know my reaction is often, here we go again.


      Sounds fascinating, is there a link where the past messages for this list is archived?


      Kind Regards,

      Kester Pelagius


      P.S.  Ever think of putting together a FAQ?
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      Emmett
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      Posts: 82


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      « Reply #5 on: May 27, 2003, 09:40:17 PM »

      Quote
      We usually do discuss them afresh, and once in a while something comes out that hasn't been seen before, or which had been mentioned previously and since forgotten. But by and large I know my reaction is often, here we go again.

      I readily agree how that would be tiresome, but no one truely forces you to rehash the old conversation. In fact I would think it very interesting to mearly watch the conversation unfold, an see if the participants reach the same conclusion. Let the newbies discuss newbie things, and the regulars watch them like an ant farm. When they're done, you tell them where they can read previous discussons, tell them that they were being watched like the affore mentioned ants to flex your "regular" muscles (nothing wrong with that IMHO) and write a brief synopsis of the differences between the discussion they just had and yours.
      That just my take. However if you have your own site and you have to respond then you kind of have to re-hash it. On the other hand if you don't answer their question, and simply point them to where the conversation was on the site, you kind of make them feel like a dunce for not reading it.

      I do agree that poorly stated arguments are frustrating. If unless you are simply stating your preferances, I think you should express yourself fully. On the other hand if you are going to say something negative about a post and you simply feel that it is wrong but cannot fully express yourself, a statement like "It just doesn't feel right" or "I do not like that, it is uncomfortable" is taken more readily than "That Sucks!!!". After all Einstien was faced with a preponderance of evidence that quantum theory worked and still replied "God does not play dice" (which is a bad quote for Christian gamers of whom I am one).

      In other words I will agree that Newbies that offer little more than oppinion and no substance are so much fertilizer but I would also contend that men search through thousands of tons of earth to find a diamond, RPG creators need to do the same. Lets face it there arn't a lot of revolutions out there for RPGs. One could be here in amongst the deletrious, you just have to sort through it.

      Not a pleasent thought, but a half a thought anyway.
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      Cowboys never quit!!!
      Mike Holmes
      Acts of Evil Playtesters
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      Posts: 10459


      « Reply #6 on: May 28, 2003, 06:03:08 AM »

      Quote from: Emmett
      ... but I would also contend that men search through thousands of tons of earth to find a diamond, RPG creators need to do the same. Lets face it there arn't a lot of revolutions out there for RPGs. One could be here in amongst the deletrious, you just have to sort through it.

      I feel that we've done more than due dilligence in that department. That is, new posters are all considered to be potential contributors, and are "handled" through the often arduous entry process. Not all make it.

      Nobody here can post as much as I do (because they're all sane, and not moderators). So they do what they can. And that means sometimes being picky about what they respond to. If that's not enough, then I don't know what the solution is.

      Except one thing that I know would work. We need more people to become contributing members. That is more people who post, not as often as I do necessarily (though that would be nice), but regularly and who help others when they do post. Basically, as in any community, you tend to get out of it what you put into it. If one comes here only asking, and not contributing, as some people do, you'll note that they tend to get less (note not nothing) of a response. Become a contributor, and you'll see that people are way more willing to help you in return.

      Note that it never "pays off". I give waaaay more advice and help than I ever get in return. So don't expect an even exchange if you decide to become an active member. There are always going to be those who come looking for help, and who don't return any. That is, in order to do what you want in terms of sifting, the community has an "export economy" if you will. Meaning that more help goes out than comes in. You have to want to help because you think that there's some value to the discourse in general. That the archives here mean something.

      Obviously I do. Do you?

      Mike
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      M. J. Young
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      « Reply #7 on: May 28, 2003, 08:02:39 PM »

      Quote from: Mike Holmes
      I give waaaay more advice and help than I ever get in return. So don't expect an even exchange if you decide to become an active member.

      Mike, my first thought was, if you ever need help with a game, give me a shout; you're worth the effort.


      My second thought was that would probably never happen, because I suspect you're quite capable of working through any problems with which I might be able to help anyway.

      That led to my third thought.

      There's a quote attributed to Augustine; I got it from C. S. Lewis (probably Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer, but I haven't read that book for a quarter century so I could be misattributing it): I am one of those who by writing profits, and by profiting writes. I quote that often; it applies to what we do here.

      I've gotten several Game Ideas Unlimited articles from discussions here, and that without taking anyone else's ideas, really. I remember doing one about my thoughts on two-pronged rewards systems; I did another quite some time ago on illusionism as game design. I've probably done near a dozen over the past year based on thoughts I came upon in discussions here, particularly if you include the Faith and Gaming series articles as well. Explaining, answering, discussing--these things make me think, and as I think I come to new insights and ideas.

      It isn't just that I find articles to write; its that I see things a bit differently. There's a benefit to me in trying to express my own thoughts here. Sometimes I get something from others; but if I were to measure the value of my time here solely on what I learn from others (as valuable as posts by people like you and Ralph and others, not to mention Ron, are) I'd miss a lot of the value of being here. I get something from addressing the issues, questions, and problems other people raise, because I think about them and offer answers at least some of which I had not considered before the question was asked.

      I'd bet you get the same thing--not from every thread, and certainly not from every rehash of old ground, but at least enough that you can say you're getting something from what you're giving.

      Thought I'd call that to your attention, and recommend it to others who could be posting more.

      --M. J. Young
      (whose 538 posts in under a year are enough to get him in the top twenty-five, but will never challenge Mike's #2 standing at over 2400 posts a year for the past two years)
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      Mike Holmes
      Acts of Evil Playtesters
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      Posts: 10459


      « Reply #8 on: May 29, 2003, 05:43:29 AM »

      MJ, thanks for the kind words. You flatter me.

      But you've nailed exactly what I get out of posting here. My father (no doubt paraphrasing someone else) once told me that one never learns as much as when one teaches. By attempting to help people, I'm educating myself.

      So I'm no martyr for a cause. I post because I like to, and get something out of it. My point was merely to say that the only way to get to a point where we can "service" everyone is for more people to act in this capacity. Those that do the helping, can only do so much. If we were to add substantially to the number of people on the "helping" side, rather than the "asking" side, then every newcomer would get the same treatment.

      The good news is that this seems to happen automatically. Emmett, for example, has not only tried already to improve the community here, but has in fact posted intelligently and helpfully to a number of other posts. Already he's somebody who can count on help when he needs it, I think. And this happens every day.

      Occasionally people drop out, too. We can't question anyone's participation, it has to be a matter of choice. But I think that the acquisition rate is still higher than the dropout rate, however. So we do continue to grow. It's just that sometimes the rate of new posters needing help swamp the "helper" ranks. And then they get less help. And then people see some problem. But as Ron has pointed out, it's simply cyclical. Eventually some of the new posters become helpers (some instantly), and then the balance returns to normal.

      What you won't see is all the same names helping every post. There was a time when my posting rate was high enough to keep up with pratically every post. But that time's long since past. So, since nobody except Ron keeps the pace I do, or could be expected to, you see how there will be posts that go without a lot of the "big names" on them?

      The thing is that it's not a problem. If you get John Laviolette, Shreyas Sampat, Johnathan Walton, Spooky, Stuart, Jason, Brian Leyborne, or any of the others (it's a long list, these are just a few off the top) that regularly help people, you're doing just fine. They're all as capable of helping you out as anyone else.

      So given that there's this large set of people out there helping out all the time, I'm really not sure what the "problem" is. Do some posters discriminate so that they can remain effective? Yes. Does that mean that newcomers don't get help or never will? No. If you're here to become part of the community, and you have the least bit of patience, you'll be rewarded.

      If you feel that you've been slighted in some way, that you've not been given a fair chance, please, feel free to email me about it. I'm not an authority here, but I do care about the community, and I'll do whatever's in my meagre powers to try to correct the situation. But have a little patience and persistence. It pays off big.

      Mike
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      Emmett
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      « Reply #9 on: June 03, 2003, 09:06:55 PM »

      Quote
      But have a little patience and persistence. It pays off big.


      You're going to make me say it again.

      Cowboys never quit!

      Distracted, yes. Quit, no.

      Quote
      Emmett, for example, has not only tried already to improve the community here, but has in fact posted intelligently and helpfully to a number of other posts. Already he's somebody who can count on help when he needs it, I think. And this happens every day.


      Flattery. Flattery. Flattery. No, I didn't say stop. . .  Aw shuks guys now I'm all embaressed.

      I said before, I have had my post met with intelegent and profesional relpies. And no Mike, I could not possibly post as much as you do, my fingers arn't that fast and there are not enough hours in my day. I wish I could, but that is your gift.

      Refering to helping others Mike wrote. . .
      Quote
      Note that it never "pays off".


      I think it does. If you or I make a contribution to a game that is in the works, and it comes off well, then we have with a little effort helped to make a game that we all might enjoy. In addition I'm getting older (well not that old) and there arn't that many gamers around me anymore. I have to make my own converts. Its very nice to talk to someone who is rabid about RPGs. It lets me know that I'm not the only crazy one out here.
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      Cowboys never quit!!!
      M. J. Young
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      Posts: 2198


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      « Reply #10 on: June 04, 2003, 05:30:54 PM »

      Quote from: Kester Pelagius
      Greetings  M. J. Young....Sounds fascinating, is there a link where the past messages for this list is archived?....P.S.  Ever think of putting together a FAQ?

      Kester, I'm sorry I missed this--had it not been for Emmett's added post, I might not ever have seen it. Don't know how that happened.

      The Christian Gamers Guild is actually two Yahoo!Groups, a current active one that's probably about a year old, and another closed to posting. It started as Egroups (or maybe the other one, can't remember the name now), but Yahoo! swallowed up both of the competitors, and then imposed a ten thousand posts rule--a real goofy rule that says when you hit ten thousand posts, they're all erased from the database and you start over with number one. To avoid losing all of that, the group's president transferred all memberships to the new list and locked the old one against posts, somewhere in the nine thousand nine hundreds.

      So yes, sign up for the Yahoo!Group Christian Gamers Guild and the old one (which I think is CGG) and you can read all the archives. (We distinguish group membership from list membership, so you can enlist and not participate, if you like. Just set your subscription on Internet access only, and you won't get any e-mail after the welcome letter.)

      Regarding an FAQ, well, there are several answers to that.
        [*]We're working on an FAQ for Christians about gamers and games, answering the ill-founded objections that people hear and repeat without ever checking. It's almost done. Part of it includes an elsewhere-mentioned supplement of Christians in the gaming industry, as designers, publishers, writers, and whatever.[*]We've also got an FAQ for gamers about Christianity in the works, hopefully to answer a lot of the prejudices that run that direction, explaining that Christianity isn't exactly what Jack Chick seems to think, at least in the details.[*]As to the issues mentioned above, there are articles on the site and linked from the site that address many. The e-zine, The Way, the Truth, and the Dice, has addressed some of them (particularly violence and magic, that I remember), and the chaplain's corner has a now two-plus year monthly series called Faith and Gaming that hits everything from the implications of fortune mechanics in the light of divine sovereignty to whether God should be included in games to how to treat people. So there's stuff out there where you can read it, although it's not the discussions themselves.[/list:u]
        Again, sorry for missing the question. The guild is at http://www.geocities.com/christian_gamers_guild/ if you want to follow it up.

        --M. J. Young
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        Mike Holmes
        Acts of Evil Playtesters
        Member

        Posts: 10459


        « Reply #11 on: June 05, 2003, 05:55:30 AM »

        Quote from: Emmett
        Quote
        Note that it never "pays off".


        I think it does.
        I should have been more clear when I said that. What I meant is that if one puts X effort into help with, say, design of a game, or with developing some theory, one can expect less than X back in terms of help on one's own projects of a similar nature.

        It's precisely my point that there are other reasons to post here than expecting some Quid Pro Quo in terms of help of that sort. If you don't get any other return from posting, then you'll be dissapointed. That's all I'm saying there.

        Mike
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