Is the Story Games forum an insular community?

edited April 22 in Story Games
I am a part of some active discord servers that deal with story games, largly because folks here suggested it. (Thanks by the way).

I asked on one of the servers if they ever use this forum. I only got one response but it was informative I think.
I've posted a few times on story games, but there's such a secure core of people that I'm mostly not brave enough
I should also not he went on to say that it was "his fualt not theirs" so he wasn't calling us out by any means

I was reading a post today from someone I haven't seen around as much and it got me thinking again about this. I was looking for a response in the commenrs from the OP and didn't see one. It got me worried, I feel I have seen other folks to post then not return.

I too have felt a little wary about posting, a lot of very knowledgeable voices here who are quick on the draw. (I mean that literally, often I have a thought and someone has already posted before I have a chance)

I by no means think it's intentional but is this forum insular?

Additionally is there a way to combat it, or is that not a problem in your eyes.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

The irony of a community asking itself if it is insular has not escaped me btw
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Comments

  • I can only speak for myself, but I started posting last year after years of lurking and I immediately got thoughtful, detailed conversations. I had no cred to recommend myself but folks seemed willing to engage. So I guess I can only recommend that your friend take the plunge.

    I think "What did you play this week?" is a particularly welcoming. low-stakes thread for folks to start contributing to. More casual, ongoing threads like this might help make the forum look less intimidating to new members.
  • I don't know about the question asked per se. But SG has a somewhat narrow 'frequency' or scope, and if you ask outside that it might be hard to get answers, or understand the answers that are given.

    For my part my own frequency and interests in the hobby has probably shifted a bit, and SG has definitely shifted a lot, looking at the number of threads that are about OSR and 5e gaming these days. Something that would have been widely outside the main stream of the site 10yrs ago.

    I don't know if this is good, bad or neither. It's just that I think I can sort of understand the POV of the stranger in your Discord group.
  • I would fall under the category of new posters who don't post much for a similar reason to what is mentioned here. Usually when I think of something interesting to say about a thread, either Paul or Sandra or Eero has already posted it, explaining it more clearly and developing it further than I had in my mind!

    However, this is not a complaint at all. In fact, it is very inspiring. So I keep reading the forum constantly just to think about all the different ideas that are discussed--often a lot more different perspectives than I see on larger forums with more posters, likely because a tighter-knit group of fewer people is more able to bounce ideas back and forth and continue complex conversations over a long period of time.

    I do find it a bit intimidating to post on story-games, since I worry (almost certainly irrationally) that I will look stupid if my ideas aren't already well researched and developed. That said, when I see other people post half-baked ideas it seems like people are generally very welcoming and willing to engage. So I don't think there's much that could be done differently other than "be less smart", which is obviously not a good policy. : )
  • edited April 22
    I don't know, I could see myself being amused by a "be less smart" policy. We could all pretend that we haven't been gaming for 20+ years each, for starters. Maybe everybody picks just three rpgs to "know", and then forget that any others ever existed. Do our best to think like teenagers. We could trade in preconceptions a lot after that. Could be fun.

    My newbie persona has for simplicity's sake played Runequest (instead of certain Finnish Runequest knockoffs), Call of Cthulhu and let's say Cyberpunk 2020 for a realistic, even spread. I've always wanted to try MERP, but it's too complex for me. Unlike most roleplayers I've never played D&D, and my preconception about gaming is that it is extremely hard to manage a continuous campaign for more than 2-3 sessions before the incoherent mess that we make peters out.

    I suppose I'm on the forums to tell everybody about my Improvements to the Basic Roleplaying System. (It's highly streamlined but doesn't do anything in particular; think Fudge.) I also think that I am very smart for having adapted the MtG expansion "Fallen Empires" into a rpg campaign - I call it that, but in reality I've got nothing more than a vague map and an even more vague idea of the campaign activity being "adventuring", but in such a way that allows me to talk about Magic cards with the other players. Plus there's this like dwarven empire in there that keeps human slaves, that's cool.

    It's a shame April Fools Day already came and went. We could've have a full diurnal cycle of outright tomfoolery with this concept. Maybe do it on May 1st; sounds better than drinking oneself into stupor as per the standard Finnish social program.
  • edited April 22
    I don't know about "insular," but I do tend to think of S-G as a rather specialized tool when it comes to discussing gaming. I suspect that most of the people who make up the forum's community have much larger and more diverse gaming-related interactions than just what they talk about here, but I could easily be projecting.

    There's certainly a culture that the older and more prolific members both contribute to and have a good deal of savvy with, but like other people have said, it generally seems that most people here are pretty adaptable to a wide range of conversations, it's just that they aren't usually inclined to start them themselves.
    I also think that I am very smart for having adapted the MtG expansion "Fallen Empires" into a rpg campaign - I call it that, but in reality I've got nothing more than a vague map and an even more vague idea of the campaign activity being "adventuring", but in such a way that allows me to talk about Magic cards with the other players.
    I feel personally attacked by this relatable content. Did the FE dwarves actually keep human slaves though? I don't remember that at all.
  • There's no record of the dwarves keeping human slaves in Sarpadian Empires, vols I–IV, the latter being the record of their defeat. Vols V–VII are after the dwarves are gone.
  • I took a 230 days long break after the dojo clobber debacle/misunderstanding, that's almost 8 months. So if people wanted a Sandra free S-G they had their window. And I've taken long breaks many times.

    Reading the OP, I see that he means insular as in "people don't come here and post". That's true. There's a bigger problem though — sometimes it feels like no-one cares about, or knows about, what we who post here post. Like I see people on other forums talking about D&D and I'm like uh... darlings let us teach you #elitist2097
  • What S-G understands that other places don't understand is… uh… coherence…? Not sure how to translate that into plain English. That rules need to make sense and pull their weight.
  • edited April 22
    Certainly no one can ignore their wealth of personal experience, nor would I want them to.

    As Vivificient says I too love to read some well thought out, well supported posts even if I didn't get a chance to say something similar.

    What I'm more worried about is whether or not we are welcoming even when newcomers have less experience and maybe lack the clarity in jargon and such that the forum has come to expect.

    I want to single out Paul_T here, he very much seems to go out of his way to make sure to ask questions when he's not sure what the post is getting at.

    To play devil's advocate to my own question I suppose it would be counterproductive to dumb down our responses just because someone is confusing in their post. I'm just not sure where the happy medium is.

    @2097 I certainly enjoy reading your stuff even if you and I don't interact super often. By no means take this post has a ding on anyone in particular, or even a criticism for that matter. :)
  • NP♥
    Just saying I have thought about this
  • Yes.
  • Incredibly so.
  • I like the slow thoughtful pace.
  • edited April 23
    I had no cred to recommend myself but folks seemed willing to engage. So I guess I can only recommend that your friend take the plunge.
    Me too. It's a very welcoming place, here.
    a lot of very knowledgeable voices
    Some of my very first posts were answered by indie game-design luminaries. It's a very welcoming place.

    There is even a welcoming thread where every new user, who posts there, is greeted individually.

    You do have to be interested in talking about game design though, or examine play through the filter of design. There isn't a lot of other game talk.
  • edited April 23
    Eero's idea is clearly the best. I'm already trying to think of what my three games are! Definitely Fudge. Maybe I should constrain myself to five-letter acronym games? Fudge (originally "FUDGE" - Freeform Universal Do-it-yourself Gaming Engine), GURPS ("Generic Universal Role Playing System"), and CORPS ("Complete Omniversal Roleplaying System") would make a pretty good selection, perhaps. I feel utterly confident that, with those three games - or maybe even just one of them! - I could PLAY ANYTHING I CAN IMAGINE!

    It could be freeform, generic, or completely omniversal, depending on which of the Three Varieties of All Possible Roleplaying I wish to engage with. (And, actually, I secretly think that I could combine rules from all three games in order to create the Ultimate RPG!)

    Except I like to break the rules, so I also fantasize about playing Metascape II, which is clearly superior to them all. (And the thread I linked there might be a good example of how much we "shame" outsiders! I take full blame for that one.)

  • edited April 23
    More seriously, this warmed my heart:

    I want to single out Paul_T here, he very much seems to go out of his way to make sure to ask questions when he's not sure what the post is getting at.
    Thank you for saying so! I've had a lot of people private message me over the years to thank me for engaging with them, and it's been really nice. I see lots of other posters heartily welcoming newcomers, as well (as can be seen from the "Welcoming thread", as @Hopeless_Wanderer points out).

    My experience with Story Games has been as follows:

    1. It's a small enough forum that the content being discussed depends heavily on whoever's highly active at any given time.

    For instance, Sandra's presence always means that D&D5e gets discussed a LOT - she's a very active poster, engages in topics with passion as well as thoughtfulness, and almost exclusively posts about 5e. That shows clearly from which threads are "at the top" of the forum.

    In the past, we've had a wave of OSR discussions (correlating with Eero's interest in old-school D&D, I'd say), and, before that, periods of forum-wide obsession with Apocalypse World, Red Box Hack, and In a Wicked Age..., as well as high interest in newer D&D (generally, whenever a new edition comes out).

    I think this is fine and natural, but I can see how a visitor might conclude (from a quick snapshot) that those games and only those games are discussed here. That's a shame, but I don't really see what we can do about it.

    2. It's an incredibly welcoming and open-minded place, and interested in a huge variety of topics and styles of play. As Sandra says, being aware of the concept of "coherence" allows us to be better about discussing a variety of playstyles, which is rare elsewhere (since many/most gamers confuse their personal experiences and preferences with what is "good fun" and anything else is, therefore, WrongBadFun. This is why I'm here - I love that.

    However, I also know that people do either stay away or come and leave, and that some people feel excluded, worried, or nervous. I don't want to disbelieve the people who come forward and say that. See this older thread, for example, back when Story Games hadn't lost everyone to G+ and other platforms yet:

    http://www.story-games.com/forums/discussion/14448/please-read-first-post-before-replying-history-of-silencing-people-of-color-and-women

    I don't really know how square these two things with each other. Is this just as good as gets? Are some people always going to be scared to participate, no matter what? Or are we actually doing something wrong?

    In the case of the "silencing" thread above, for instance, I feel pretty confident that there were just a very small handful of participants who were "poisoning the well" for everyone else (and often doing so in private messages). There's only so much that can be done about something like that (and it also seems to me that those people left long ago).

    Perhaps it would be good to hear from people who ARE willing to participate but may have negative experiences or ideas to share. For example:
    Yes.
    Incredibly so.
    Will you tell us what you meant, and why? And, if you have any ideas, on how we might improve things?


    My experience with the wider internet tells me that lots of people out there have strong opinions about "story gamers", which may or may not be founded in reality - e.g. how TheRPGPundit refers to people who play and design this kind of game "swine".

    I guess those various experiences, rumours, and prejudices might lead people to assume that a forum called "Story Games" would share a lot of those negative qualities, just from the name.

    In practice, though, I haven't seen that. It's arguable that (especially in the last few years) D&D and OSR games are the most popular topic around here.

    Sometimes people with those attitudes come here and try to stir up some rather unhealthy debate. We're generally not able to deal with that productively, and get sucked into their traps. Most of the "nasty" conversations I've seen on Story Games were with someone who came in and somewhat deliberately tried to start a fight. Perhaps we could get better at shutting that down, or responding more carefully. Not sure.

    (For an example, there's an attitude in some circles that Story Games are virulently opposed to OSR gaming, and... I don't know? Sneer at people who like them? Something like that. Our own @JDCorley wrote some essays/posts about debunking that idea which were quite comprehensive and, I think, very convincing. But the idea persists. Where did it come from? I don't know. Check out these links if you want to see his methodology and findings, as well as random samples which show which games get discussed here, year by year.)

    http://jdcspot.blogspot.com/2016/07/is-story-hyphen-games-dot-com-hostile.html

    http://jdcspot.blogspot.com/2016/08/less-math-rpgs-talked-about-on-story.html

    (His posts also discuss the attitudes that people from the "outside" seem to ascribe to this community, which could be a good introduction to this whole topic.)
  • I've been lurking forum for about a year and half and I only started responding to threads here recently so I thought I'd share my experience. I don't really know if this forum is insular or not, and I don't know if that would be good or bad.

    I came here I think because my google searches kept taking me here. I would start reading a thread and not exactly understand what was being said, so then I would re-read it and end up staring at my ceiling and thinking about it for many hours past when I should be asleep. It was pretty uncomfortable, but it was also exactly what I was looking for. There's a quality to the questions that I have that's hard to describe. I want to understand how all this works not because I think it will make me better at anything but simply because I've got to know. Basically I need the jargon and the way people drill down into questions on threads here even if I lose sleep over it.

    I asked on one of the servers if they ever use this forum. I only got one response but it was informative I think.
    I've posted a few times on story games, but there's such a secure core of people that I'm mostly not brave enough
    I definitely relate to that and can try and point at the stuff that makes me less likely to post on here. Like the person @Kenny_J quoted I do feel like a lot of it comes more from me than anything else.

    1. This forum goes way back, I'm never gonna read it all. I'm most interested in the current conversations, but without reading the old stuff I worry about asking questions that have been asked a million times. People put a lot of effort into there responses on here and I worry about wasting their time.

    2. I write really slowly mostly because I'm not practiced. This post has taken more than an hour, and its probably the only thread I'll respond to tonight. But I also asked a question on another thread here and got a wonderful response in about 15 minutes, and I feel badly that I won't be able to respond until at least tomorrow.

    3. Mostly I just really admire all the people who post here and that's intimidating enough. I guess I'm a bit star struck.

    I also just seem to care about these topics way to much. Taken all together it's like someone told me I could get up on stage in front of my heroes and talk about the thing I care most about in the world, but that I'd have to explain it all by playing charades. The idea that they might misunderstand me is just to horrible to think about.

    Its all really that dramatic for me.
  • What follows is a post where I somehow self-centeredly think it’s my fault that S-G sucks and try to disclaim responsibility with weak-ass arguments.

    1. Women.

    I am one (obv).

    Cis, white, bisexual, middle-aged church lady with a laundry list of mental health issues, personality disorders and neuropsychiatric problems.

    I take long breaks for many reasons :bawling:
    S-G does have some problems.
    (Not that I don’t have problems.)

    So that’s a double edged sword; peeps who hate me never know when I’m gonna come back and there’ll be 14 out of 15 threads with “last post by 2097” And peeps who love me can’t rely on me staying, either

    I saw the callout thread about Emma & JK Rowling and I felt so bad that I wasn’t here for that and to agree w/ Emma (I, uh, didn’t read that whole thread through yet. It was locked so I figured what’s the use.). I’m glad you’re still here, Ems!

    2. D&D & OSR.

    D&D is my fave game♥♥♥

    If people think S-G slags on D&D it’s not my fault.
    I read through some of the posts that had been made about D&D and 5e when I was away and it was pretty harsh.

    I love D&D 5e. I want to run it every day. I work on it every day. I’m neglect looking for jobs because I just want to draw fan art or write house rules.

    I could never run the game that I do if it weren’t for the OSR. The “mirror story” happened in a Lab Lord game. OSR influences the way I prep and the way I run my games. Now, do I specifically want the lower-powered (i.e. no cantrips), slow-leveling, super-lethal aspect of OSR? No, I’m kinda neutral on those three issues. IDGAF about power level, speed of leveling, or lethality. I’m happy with 5e+my mods.

    Maps & keys & random tables are the lifeblood of my games. OSR taught me that.

    I read tons of OSR modules and OSR games and OSR blog posts.

    The term “swine” was and is stupid because it’s unclear if it means 90s style games (“storytelling”, Theatrix, latter-era WoD) or if it means 00 style games (“Story Now gaming”, Fiasco, Montsegur).

    OSR was a reaction to, uh… “incoherence”… (???) within D&D play. Railroaded adventure paths where the players spent ten weeks making their builds and then the combats were all smoke & mirrors because the DM fudged die rolls, HP or both behind the screen.

    It’s clear that the 90s style game (heavy on the player side, illusionist & unprincipled on the DM side) was going nowhere. And RPGs were a dwindling hobby. Far from the fad days of the early 80s.

    There were two reactions to this. One was Story Now. “If we want a traditional narrative, let’s make a game where we create one, together, instead of just having a frustrated novelist DM/Storyteller”. And this was fucking awesome. Not that I think Sorcerer or Circle of Hands are good games (I strongly dislike both) but there are some amazing designs from that (… from this?) community. I still play and love these games occasionally. Microscope being an example of one that struck an exceptionally strong chord with us.

    The other reaction was the OSR. 90s style games aren’t working. What did work? How come B4 The Lost City is so awesome and Wrath of the Righteous sucks so much?

    I certainly have a lot more affinity for OSR’s game designs than I do for the typical “Story Now-style game”.

    And, both branches found the same solution. Not sure what to call it… uh… “coherence”… idk… :bawling:

    There’s a “there” there, to both styles. There is actual game, actual process to both styles. And I absolutely include Emma’s very considerate and well-designed process in the, uh… “coherence” (???) camp.

    However.

    As far as the OSR goes, there is sort a… value mismatch with some members of that community?

    When one of my (up until them) fave bloggers came out supporting gamer gate for example, or when one of my (up until then) fave OSR games came out with an “anti-SJW” supplement…

    I kinda started using those three letters together (“OSR”) less and less.

    JDC’s 3 year old blog posts says

    the overwhelming accusation I saw against “the story gamers” in the aftermath of the Magpie Games posts was that they were absolutely obsessed with proving that OSR gamers were sexist and racist

    I’m like… the OSR does have this issue?

    I don’t really like to talk about it :bawling:

    Here, I started typing “And yes, there is effort in the OSR community.” and was gonna go look for the post that the OSR logo creator did asking peopleo to not be sexist and what do I find? CW sexism, cissexism, heterosexism: https://ddg.gg/osr_logo

    I had missed that because I am kind of out of the loop when it comes to Internet stuff.

    I wasn’t even looking for sexism, and I accidentally that entire serpent nest!

    I get annoyed with about what 99% of the social justice community says and does. But the anti-SJW community is 100000000000 times worse. If the various intersectional pro-social justice groups (not really sure what the endonym is) say about 1% good things… the reactionary/anti-SJW community says ZERO good things.

    Again, there are some awesome people too. But people saying the OSR is 100% bread & roses need to wake the hell up!

    3. Racism

    I suck when it comes to knowing what to do about/against racism. This post comes across as me ignoring it but… I just don’t know what to say when it comes to that topic.

    Not that I always can pass for white even though my ass is lily; I’ve often had racists harassing me for my dark hair & thick accent etc. Obv nowhere near the daily onslaught someone who has been more racialized would experience. I def encounter sexism on the daily here IRL (always people grabbing at me etc), more than I do racism, because I do have white priv. Tryna become a better ally!

    Like, someone I talk to all the time here on S-G who I get along very well with, who I think always “gets” me right away and has great contributions to my designs… also wrote a game called “The Miscegenation of the Ancients”…? I kinda have a guilty conscience about that, about not having called the person out on that yet :bawling:

  • You're great, ebear♥♥
    I had a similar star-struck moment yday. I was hanging out on a programming channel (because… I was writing apps to make calculations to prove a point in an edition war… FML :bawling::bawling::bawling:) and in comes the author of The Complete Lojban Language! I haven't been into Lojban stuff for like a decade but I immediately reduced to being all ".ui ki'e je'e vi'o doi pendo" and pigtails and cords.
  • edited April 23
    Miscegenation of the Ancients is a horror-themed D&D adventure about the creation of chimeras in a biblical context. It has implicit references to ancient bestiality in it, what with them D&D monsters being humans with animal heads. It's pretty much exactly the sort of thing that sounds like, in case you haven't read it, albeit executed in a very dry and condensed fashion as a text, what with it being a one-page dungeon and all. If you have actual reservations about it, I encourage you to take them up in a new thread and school me about it - I promise to not respond with personal attacks.

    I'll also note that you would not be the first person to call me out on my historically-themed D&D being racist, so at least there's social affirmation for that position. If you want to take a look at another data-point, here's Foo Dogs of the Heavenly Jade Temple, another D&D adventure, this time themed around Orientalist attitudes and the Opium War. I seem to remember that it was judged similarly for being a horribly racist thing some years back.

    To be clear, I decided to reply to this directly because I do not mind being called out on the topic of what roleplayers like me should think, play and publish. Critique should be a good thing, and preferable to being ignored. It does upset me when I am accused of racism for doing what I myself consider serious and thoughtful art, but that's just a necessary part of the process - I don't believe in coddling, and don't want that treatment for myself. I disagree clearly and fully with the kind of cultural philosophy that produces these condemnations, as I view it as damaging to progressive cultural endeavours; however, I think that the discussion is a good thing to have, even if people disagree, and that people should be able to voice their disagreements without being hurtful about it.
  • It's not about particular games, but rather that the dominant culture here has sometimes surprisingly antagonistic views on certain topics, people, techniques or types of conversations. This is quickly made apparent to anyone who broaches such a topic.

    That said, I do agree that @Paul_T is a shining example of a person who clearly works hard to make others feel comfortable and involved.
  • edited April 23
    I'm going to step back in here for just a moment for a minor clerification.

    More specifically I was singling @Paul_T out for his patience and thoughtful probing to help a Poster get what their looking for. Not necessarily for his purly welcoming nature, of which he is also and so are many others.

    To say it another way. I agree with what others have said here pointing to the "introduce yourself" thread as an example, that individuals have been very welcoming and warm. It's definitely what's kept me around.

    But I think Paul goes above and beyond (and of course not only him but he's just such a prolific poster) with regard to a willingness to think differently about a subject to try and meet folks where they are.

    I think there's a sublte but important different here. I can say "Hey welcome, happy to have you here" and then never respond to new posters or when I do, I say what I say with zero regard to respecting where they might be coming from.

    Sometimes I think it's as simple as talking to the OP directly instead of seemingly directing my responses to the other "talking heads" as it were (sorry not sure what else to call our frequent posters with lots of esteem).

    And by no means is this place terrible or much worse than anywhere else on the internet. But if we can have a discussion about it, I wanted too.
  • edited April 23
    That’s a great point, Kenny. Thank you, and I agree in full.

    Tod (AsIf), I also appreciate the kind words, but I wonder if you’d be willing to share some examples of “topics, people, techniques, or conversations” which are unwelcome here (but presumably someone wishes could and should be)? That might help, particularly if we wish to formulate a strategy to get better at that.
  • I too would love to hear more of your thoughts @AsIf and @ParadoxBoy and specific experiences, it's why I posted the thread.
  • @AsIf, the only thing I can think of that you were involved in was a debate between you and I about the whole "railroading" thing some years back. I don't think I engaged with your topic in a way you wished I did. From my perspective, you were trying to redefine the term in such a way is to make it utterly meaningless, and that made the whole conservation somewhat pointless. You, in turn, called me an "ideologue" (although I have no idea what ideology you were referring to), and we never got anywhere.

    Perhaps I could have found a better way to say that, but, on the other hand, I still stand by my conviction on that point. If you do feel that's an example of an "unwelcome discussion", is there a way someone could voice disagreement without making you feel unwelcome?

    My own negative experiences with Story Games have been roughly of three types:

    1. Sometimes an 'outsider' appears and tries to rile people up (like Zak S., perhaps, when he used to visit, and then post about us in scathing terms elsewhere on the internet). It seems likely, in those cases, that it's deliberately malicious.

    2. I've started quite a few threads that have been shut down by moderation, because they touched on or pointed at some very unpleasant topics and were likely to make people unhappy. Thinking it over, I'm glad those threads were shut down, and it was a good learning experience.

    3. I often step forward to criticize "popular" games (like Apocalypse World, for example), and get a lot of pushback from major fans of the game, who treat me as someone who doesn't know what he is talking about (or just doesn't "get" the game). I am told over and over that I'm just not "getting it", and that someday I will. That's frustrating; it often takes multiple threads and repeating myself dozens of times to get people to stop making "rebuttals" that I'm already well familiar with, and to recognize that I actually do know what I'm talking about (or, at least, am not speaking from complete ignorance).

    If anything, though, that happens far less here than on other platforms.
  • Meh. I have a legacy of tarnatious threads that I ended up either dropping or taking elsewhere. I'm not particularly interested in resurrecting them. I even have a several-years-old half-written longpost about this very insularity, sitting somewhere on my hard disk. But I've adjusted my MO. Cultures gonna culture. If I feel like pissing into the wind, this is not the place I'll be doing it.
  • I think that there are some topics that I am interested in that people here might not be as enthusiastic about, but with a very few exceptions, I have generally received non-dismissive, thoughtful feedback.


  • It's not about particular games, but rather that the dominant culture here has sometimes surprisingly antagonistic views on certain topics, people, techniques or types of conversations. This is quickly made apparent to anyone who broaches such a topic.
    I'm not sure how to respond to that, Tod! On one hand, you don't have any responsibility to engage in this conversation at all, nor to "explain" or "demonstrate" what you're talking about. I get that.

    On the other hand, well... first of all, you're here, participating in this thread. Second, hearing, "there's some stuff going on that I don't like... but I'm not going to tell you what it is" is a fairly unhelpful thing to be confronted with.

    I respect your right to bow out gracefully, of course. But the interest is here and it's real, and you may be Our Only Hope (tm), at least in this thread. :) Any chance you'd take a shot at at least providing an example or a hint? No great diatribe or manifesto is necessary, but just something to get the conversation rolling.

  • 2. I write really slowly mostly because I'm not practiced. This post has taken more than an hour, and its probably the only thread I'll respond to tonight. But I also asked a question on another thread here and got a wonderful response in about 15 minutes, and I feel badly that I won't be able to respond until at least tomorrow.
    I agree with this sentiment. I have this as well. Also, when I find a topic or thread I’m interested in, but the amount of well written replies to it is so high that I can’t find the time, energy and focus to even read it all and keep up! And then there is jargon and abreviations used that everybody seems to get, but I don’t know about.

    This obviously isn’t a bad thing in itself, pacing and detailed, thorough explaining are good things! It’s just something that is rather intimidating.
  • :bawling: my blindness to my own white priv sux

    "Oh, someone made a racist game? That's OK it was probably by mistake I'm sure he's a good guy I've talked to him before, here I'll make a couple of cool logos for it and hope he gradually becomes cool"

    five seconds later in another thread

    "Oh, some mansplainer questioned my DPR calculating chops!??! INSTANT ALT-F4!!"

    The irony of that didn't strike me until a few days later.

    That's right, the second it's about number one yours truly I can't take it but I'm sooo fucking generous when it's about some group half way across the world that I sympathize with "on paper".

    if you hear racialized peeps complaining about "white feminists" now you know why! always about number one! ok but i'll try to learn from it!

    OK, now back to break
    I got work done today for the first day in years (working on new char sheets!)! I can't work when I'm on here, I get sucked into writing posts & doing research&math for posts. i need my life back for a while!

    again, quitting for selfish reasons! fml how do I git gud. as in get to become a good person. that road seems pretty long rn
  • I was actually planning on messaging you about that when I got the chance, Sandra, but it looks like you worked out a lot of what I was going to say yourself, which is really good. :)

    I have some thoughts and recommendations on the "git gud" thing that I'll message you about when I get the chance actually. I'm just not 100% sure when that will be because I have a lot of work to do over the next few days, you know?
  • Have a productive break, Sandra! I get the sense that you tend to get overly excited over the online stuff (I certainly do, that's part of why I have a rather narrow online presence), so have a virtual pat on the back. As far as I'm concerned you expressed your concerns about my racist D&D adventures cogently, and I hope we can continue to be socially amiable despite my horrible contribution to the world of rpgs.

    I imagine that it doesn't work if I specifically say this, but from where I sit it doesn't seem so unfair of you to take a soft approach in calling out a vile reprobate. It might not send such a strong signal about how very much you care about the cause, but it might work better in convincing people about it. Speaking of political history as a whole (something of a hobby, that) I'd say that moderate approaches have often done much more for causes than strident radicalism would. It's sort of similar to how it can be more commendable to live than to die for your country.
  • Not to start shit, Eero, but historically, moderate approaches have only helped the privileged and maintained the status quo.
    "Strident radicalism" is the only answer that has ever done right by the subaltern, and it consistently historically has borne fruit for us. A lot of that fruit has just been swept under the rug and condemned by the propaganda of the imperialists who every day work to destroy our advances and continue our oppression. What they cannot destroy, they miseducate the masses on and smear the name of.
  • edited April 24
    Well I hope folks continue to add their experiences here. I don't promise it will fix anything but I'm glad we are talking. I certainly feel I have learned a lot from what has been shared.
  • I have sympathy for your perspective, but mine is not an idle whim either. The historical record is replete with examples of sheer tragedy wrought by failed revolution; we cannot only take the successes and coldly discard the failures with a blithe reference to the blood that waters the soil of revolution. A revolution risks failure from both outside and inside, as we well know; humans are not very good at organizing fairly even in good conditions, chaos and strife are a friend to opportunists who would use the revolution to their own advantage. Moderation also has its success stories, led by people just as committed to the cause of the oppressed, only more cunning and realistic in some ways.

    Let's not get into a general political chat, though - it's against the forum's rules and spirit. I am generally the first to encourage not taking the "no politics" idea too literally, because art is so very fundamentally political, but "moderates versus radicals" is no rpg topic any more, I'm sure everybody agrees.
  • Is this an insular community?

    Well, given that this thread is dominated by the small number of regular posters...yes?

    Did anyone else read the thread from 2011? Or this horrorshow from 2013? Have things changed that much?

    Has any thread criticizing how things work here ever led to real change?

    Does anyone wonder why most of the designers who founded this place have left?

    Or why there are so few women regulars here?

    Or why this place is so disconnected from what's going on in the mainstream of indie design I see in places like twitter or, god help me, Facebook?

    I see no point in ragequitting or flouncing, so I'll do neither. But I also won't recommend anyone who asks me that they come here.
  • This is the most open & orderly rpg forum that I know of. IMHO close to the 'plausibly best' in a Leibnizian way.

    It has values for me and no other medium or platform could even reach its level of sophistication.

    Also it is the one with the highest number of regularily posting women based on nicknames and introductions.

    But I am a moderate who values diversity over one true wayisms.
  • edited April 25
    I am deeply saddened to hear whole groups of people have felt pushed away, then again I shouldn't be surprised. I guess that's my privilege showing. I can admit it. I was surprised to hear the forum didn't feel as welcoming to women especially. So this thread ended up taking a turn I didn't expect and at began to tackle explore some very tough incredibly intense topics.

    I've only really been active for the past few years here and like Sandra, I disappear for long periods of time, (I don't get anything done when I'm on here). This has been the only SG I've ever experienced, so if it did have some Glory days, or conversely, overtly terrible ones, I missed them.

    Will it change anything around here? Probably not. I mean what's a community but a structured group of people. And if we don't even acknowledge these things, they definitely won't improve.

    I don't by any stretch of the imagination speak for this place. But, this is me, just me, acknowledging there's a a problem. (For whatever that's worth).

    I personally don't have the faintest idea how to fix it. Though, I suspect it starts with creating space for folks to voice their concerns and experiences.

    It's been a hard lesson for me to learn personally, to get better at the skill of listening. Especially when things get intense. I rush to explain my thought process, I passionately argue that harm was not intended, and when I'm doing that I'm not listening. It's taken a patient group of friends to help me learn this lesson and to begin to improve.

    And it's something I have seen a bit of in this very thread, some well reasoned arguments and a real lack of listening to real and present concerns.
  • I am deeply saddened to hear whole groups of people have felt pushed away, then again I shouldn't be surprised. I guess that's my privilege showing. I can admit it. I was surprised to hear the forum didn't feel as welcoming to women especially. So this thread ended up taking a turn I didn't expect and at began to tackle explore some very tough incredibly intense topics.
    Agreed.

    And it's something I have seen a bit of in this very thread, some well reasoned arguments and a real lack of listening to real and present concerns.
    Thanks for caling this out. Active listening is hard. I need to be reminded of practicing it at times.
    This is the most open & orderly rpg forum that I know of. IMHO close to the 'plausibly best' in a Leibnizian way.

    It has values for me and no other medium or platform could even reach its level of sophistication.

    Also it is the one with the highest number of regularily posting women based on nicknames and introductions.

    But I am a moderate who values diversity over one true wayisms.
    I agee with this!
  • edited April 25
    This is the most open & orderly rpg forum that I know of. IMHO close to the 'plausibly best' in a Leibnizian way.

    It has values for me and no other medium or platform could even reach its level of sophistication.

    Also it is the one with the highest number of regularily posting women based on nicknames and introductions.

    But I am a moderate who values diversity over one true wayisms.
    And @The_Bearded_Belgian

    This, well this is exactly the problem right? When you say this in the same thread where someone else has said the opposite, what is that supposed to mean?

    Either you just disagree that women feel unwelcome simply by virtue of seeing a "High number" of usernames that seem like they would be women. Despite a woman telling you that women feel unwelcome.

    or what?

    I'm not sure what the alternative is. If someone says there's a problem then there's a problem right? Otherwise you have decided to just disregard someone, and you are by definition insular.

    Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with you liking SG. Fine but it doesn't follow that just because you like it that's its the best.

    I mean maybe you simply think its the best we CAN do on the internet, But I think that's a pretty low bar IMHO.

    *I should note that its not only you two making this argument you're just the most recent.
  • Yeah, that’s a good observation. If many of us are saying this is a wonderful and welcoming place, but a number of women say that there is a big problem... that’s pretty revealing already.
  • Im not British but I believe in balances and checks. For me the quality of the forum here is rare and thus highly precious.

    Im always open for personal progression but in my experience every 'balance point' is delicate and change always has a price. Im sure you know the saying about good intent and the road to hell.

    This is why Im a moderate. I prefer existing 'okay' situations over utopian wish states.

    It would be so cool if someone would tell me what can I personally do to make him or her feel better here. So I could ponder about the request. But I do not see any of these...

    I only read opinions and I felt that they are mostly one sided without being constructive.
  • I prefer existing 'okay' situations over utopian wish states.
    Active listening is noticing and accepting that certain people, many people?, most people of certain demographics?, do not think that a situation you think is 'okay' is actually 'okay'.
  • @Aviatrix Your post is full of truths, so I'm going to walk back what I said earlier in thread. Reading those threads from 2011 & 2013 is depressing and maddening.
  • Well, I think it is pretty insular.
    Like hamnacb, I consider the forum as a "specific tool", namely a workshop.
    Regarding elitism, I am proof a newcomer can post without being turned down, so I am not convinced.
    As much as I can tell from my privileged position, there is probably an educated x white x man issue. I learned more on gender here than on any other forum, but it doesn't change the fact. I guess there is something about jargonning and wanting to look competent and all, a kind of "workshop talk" that has got to change. That would entail more actual play talk. A necessary detour to lead more easily into the design part. I am felling my way here. But I try to get somewhere too.
  • It's not insular, it's just that nobody comes here anymore.
  • That's more of my impression on it as well, Jason. I hesitate to say that I'm an example of non-insularity myself, being as how I've become a bit of a hermit from the general rpg scene over the last decade, but I do have a lot of knowledge on roleplaying in general. If others were to be in the same situation, we could characterize the forum as "not many people, perhaps not up to date on the latest coolness, but deeply experienced". I could see calling that insular or non-insular depending on what you're looking at: is insularity the same as not having a lot of cross-pollination with other fora, or is it being generally ignorant of the hobby? I feel like I'm insular in the first sense, but not in the second.

    Whatever the word itself means, to me it seems like the forum is welcoming enough , but not particularly popular. That is, marketing-wise we don't know if the product is bad (people don't want a forum like this), or its presentation is bad (the forum seems boring/useless/whatever on a surface glance), or if its marketing is bad (there is no marketing, is there?). Could be any one of them as long as it's not researched any further, but I suspect that the forum has relatively low numbers nowadays because of either the product or the marketing. The presentation seems fair enough to me, I don't off-hand see anything to change that would have a major effect; I'd be more inclined to assume that this kind of forum isn't of interest to the vast majority of Internet-goers.
  • I like the slow thoughtful pace.
    I think this sums up this forum best. :)
  • All things considered, I have to agree with both JDC's and Eero's last posts.

    In many cases, I think it's just plain a side effect of a lot of people having migrated elsewhere and few people have come in to replace them.
  • I agree with that as well, but I would be very curious to hear from anyone whose experience has been different.
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