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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 75 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Difficulties Advocating Forge Schtuff  (Read 8613 times)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2003, 10:56:33 AM »

'Lo,

The Valamir/Kester dialogue is concluded; no more posts about or in it are permitted.

I draw attention to Kester's comment in his post:

Quote
If you did not intend your remark to convey that intent [then] I apologize


and I'll consider Ralph to have accepted that apology unless he tells me otherwise.

Please continue with this otherwise-excellent discussion.

Best,
Ron
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ethan_greer
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« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2003, 03:18:37 PM »

I'm going through similar experiences with my own gaming circle, W.  What I'm doing is basically beating the theory drum every so often, but never too hard and never for very long, and especially only when it's particularly relevant.  That way, some of the ideas will start to pop up in their minds, and hopefully their play experiences will improve.
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2003, 09:16:36 PM »

Personally, I have found that there's an ego block to the discussion. Like someone who fancies themselves to be great lovers get defensive when you use terms like "g-spot" and "French ticklers." Many roleplayers think they already know everything about roleplaying. If you bring up concepts and theories, like what's discussed on the Forge, they feel inadequate and simply put up a wall. Such is my experience, and I'm sure many here have too and probably prepetuated the same behavior at one time. Such people tend to try to torpedo the theory before they even understand what the theory says.

Jargon or no, this will happen, but jargon doesn't help.
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Marco
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« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2003, 03:22:30 AM »

I've said this before--I think it bears repeating:

[RANT ON]
The way large portions of GNS are formulated/described are IMO, highly to yeild the hostile reaction.

When I've discussed theory with people I *haven't* gotten a defensive reaction--but I've done it in a way that's gotten a bad reaction here.

For one thing, instead of describing a game as incoherent, I've discussed different ways text could be understood. VtM is perfectly "coherent" if you read it a given way (PM me and I'll explain).

The Impossible Thing is perfectly possible if you read it a given way (again).

Rather than using language that obsfusicates that ("The game is Incoherent"--as though ANY game couldn't be read two different ways or the 'promises' of the game *you* wrote couldn't be misconstrued by someone**) it's simply better to approach it from a viewpoint of personal understanding and, here I go, intent.

Someone once said of GNS words to the effect of: "It's a way of quantifying a decision you make in play--am I exploring something, playing to 'win' (for some value of win), or is my decision prioritizing play with an enjoyable story addressing a thematic continuity" (this is way a paraphrase, but bear with me).

I've *never* had anyone react badly to that. Discussions about how rules can help or hinder those decisions--about how social conventions can interact with those priorities--about how playing 'to win' is as valid as playing to 'explore' and even about how prioritizing thematic questions is different from engaging in story-like exploration are all pretty natural.

I've had some discussion and *disagreement* but not hostility (no, it doesn't discuss every possible intent--it's not trying to--and yes, analysis of the play at the table is different than the decision-model--I'll keep saying this--it seems I can never say it enough).

But that approach relies on intent as a factor and doesn't apply to analyzing other's play (the play at the table may be decided to be Simulationist play--but that doesn't tell you what people's "intent"* was when making individual decisions)--and a lot of people here aren't interested in that (it seems. I've gotten PM's telling me that).***

I do NOT think people are desparately clinging to the hope of "The Impossible Thing." I don't think anyone *really* believes in that self-contradiction. The textual description in the glossary does not in any way address the basic misunderstanding which will almost necessiarly exist between two people (the title refers, very distinctly, to one person believing in a parddox)--nor does the big GNS essay (which declares the text in question 'absurd').

I do NOT think people believe themselves to be all-knowing and hate the idea that someone has thought about this a different way--but I do know
that a person who reads all this and returns to their group thinking they know more than the people there will come off to those people as though the theorist thinks they're a bunch of morons. That's not a good way to start a discussion.

And I think the language supports this (Narrativist play is the 'new revolution'), those popular, widely loved games you like are "most likely" to lead to power struggle (not may or can--but most likely--and not even "most likely" to lead to misunderstanding--but that misunderstanding is, most likely, to be resolved with on-going powerstruggle. I know this is based on observation. I don't believe it and I don't think anyone here is a good sample element. The kinds of things that lead people to TF are, IMO, likely to be dysfunctional experiences).

But regardless, people can post snarky comments about White Wolf here all day long. If someone tries that with Sorceror there'd be an immediate pile-on or they'd be written off as a troll. I'm not talking about posting criticisms. I'm talking about pure game-bashing.

As it stands, I think GNS is a preferred vocabulary of people who want to deride players or games they don't like. One can rightly point out that that's not GNS's fault--but rather the way those people are applying the theory.

True--but if you want the meme to spread, there are ways to make it more robust--and less useful to those ends. If you want to discuss it here and don't care how useful it is outside of the TF, then there's no worry. But I've been told by people in PM's that a lot of folks here see it's primary value as resolving those real-world dysfunctions.
[/RANT OFF]

-Marco
* I am not saying you can ever know another person's intent, only discuss your *own* with *some* degree of accuracy. I'm not saying one will ever want to *speculate* on another's intent. I'm not saying that an analysis of play at the table will factor in intent in any way. If you think I am, PM me.

** In non-ranty mode: there are games that make next to no 'promises,' which helps. There are games it's really hard to misconstrue (How to Host a Murder, for example). But the majority of mainstream games--almost anything designed to be Simulationist, I think, will be able to be categorized as Incoherent by someone. Even triumphs of clean design like Nicotine Girls can be seen as variable in what modes of play their mechanics encourage.

*** What I'm calling the personalized or "intent" based model of GNS here is not intended to be the whole of the theory nor address every facet of how, for example, actual play might be *analyzed*--however, it is intended to be an easily spreadible non-contraversial meme that has MAXIMAL value in providing perspective and vocabulary to people and I believe it can be applied to *any* valuable discussion of GNS's present, most popular formulation.
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Maurice Forrester
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« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2003, 02:38:50 AM »

Excellent post, Marco.  One thing I would add is the, perhaps obvious, observation that just because one person in a group is unsatisfied with their gaming experience does not mean all members of the group are unsatisfied.  Ron points out in the introduction to the GNS essay that:
Quote
The person who is entirely satisfied with his or her role-playing experiences is not my target audience.


Introducing GNS discussion to address a problem when others in the group do not see a problem in the first place is bound to cause conflict.
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Maurice Forrester
W. Don
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Posts: 113


« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2003, 09:14:34 PM »

Hi all,

Just a quick update on this.

As far as introducing new ideas are concerned, it's going as well as can be expected without actually getting the folks on the list to try out InSpectres, Trollbabe, etc. Apparently, it's turning out that absolutely zero of the folks there have heared of these games.

I'm, as ethan_greer would put it, beating the theory drum less often these days on that list. I do still put in a little few "system matters" comments from time to time whenever someone raises a relevant issue (largely, however, the discussions going on there circle around GMing and playing techniques more than anything). I'm doing all this in as accessible a vocabulary and writing style as possible. The ego-defensive thing is still present of course -- I'm a psychologist so I tend to see this more than most people. We can't ever escape from things like that; it's par for the course.

I've had two folks drop by our InSpectres game, one for each game we've had for the past two weeks. I haven't really had the chance to talk to them about how they found the whole thing. I sensed that  there was a lot of confusion on their part, some defensiveness (eg: they brought all their game manuals), and so on. Hopefully, I can get in touch with them again soon.

All of this, of course, simply boils down to: Unless they want to take the red pill, they ain't never gonna take the red pill. The most I can do really is point to The Forge, explain in accessible and non-threatening terms whenever appropriate, tell them about some cool new games, and continuously offer warm invites to play with our group. That's the most anyone can do. Anything more than that is delusional.

Thanks again, all!

- W.

PS: Marco -- Correct me if I am wrong (via PM or e-mail) but I think the main difficulty that most folks have in accepting your "intent-based" proposals is simply that they don't find it useful to know what happens inside the blackbox of any particular gamer's brain. What matters is what you feed into it, and what comes out of it  (ie: observable behavior as expressed in actual play, and supported by the system).  

The reason I believe this is so, is that it's much harder to tool around with what's in the blackbox rather than the elements that you feed into it. The feedback you get out of the blackbox allows you to adjust what you feed it. It isn't necessary to open the blackbox.

I know that's a somewhat simplistic view, but I hope it helps explain the resistance you're experiencing.
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Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2003, 09:56:18 PM »

Hi W,

I'd say its also a very different ball game trying to advocate theory stuff online vs. face to face.  For many people in general, online interactions tend to be stripped of any and all requirements of basic society, simply because any sort of interaction can be done in a "hit and run" fashion.  That is, anyone can just scan someone's post, not fully read it, and reply "You Suck and are a Big Doody-head!(TM)".

Quite simply, anyone online who is actually interested in hearing what is being said probably doesn't need to be told twice, and may have already checked out any links you may have provided.  Otherwise, its rather like trying to outshout a drunken riot.

Face to face, at least a minimal level of social decorum has to be kept up, at least in the fact that most people subconciously recognize that being a complete ass is one great way to get your ass kicked.  Second, you get a chance to actually get to know someone on a level, and are able to take examples and experiences they give you, and reflect it through theory on the spot.  Or, better yet, give descriptions, reply to answers, and if all else fails, run a example of "how it would work" right then and there.

Chris
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Marco
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Posts: 1741


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« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2003, 03:57:54 AM »

Quote from: WDFlores


PS: Marco -- Correct me if I am wrong (via PM or e-mail) but I think the main difficulty that most folks have in accepting your "intent-based" proposals is simply that they don't find it useful to know what happens inside the blackbox of any particular gamer's brain. What matters is what you feed into it, and what comes out of it  (ie: observable behavior as expressed in actual play, and supported by the system).  

The reason I believe this is so, is that it's much harder to tool around with what's in the blackbox rather than the elements that you feed into it. The feedback you get out of the blackbox allows you to adjust what you feed it. It isn't necessary to open the blackbox.

I know that's a somewhat simplistic view, but I hope it helps explain the resistance you're experiencing.


Hi WD,

Yes--that is--and I think that's a misunderstanding concerning what I'm suggesting (I'm not saying you'll ever have to see what's inside the "black box" of a particular gamer's brain.)

-Marco
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gentrification
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« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2003, 06:06:24 PM »

Hi,

Although I don't agree that the terminology used here is necessarily exclusive or obfuscatory, I do always try very hard, when explaining Forgey principles to others, to couch it in layman's terms as much as possible. That includes terms that are common but used idiosyncratically here, such as "story" and "protagonist". When I do have to resort to jargon, I am always careful to explain that I am using jargon, how that jargon is typically used on the Forge, how that jargon differs from its everyday usage outside the Forge (if applicable), and why.

It makes for some very long explanations, but it's quite handy for heading off confusion and bad feelings when members of the audience feel like their "owndership" of a particular term is being threatened.
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Michael Gentry
Enantiodromia
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