There have been numerous complaints over the past week that the specialized jargon at the Forge makes it difficult to participate in RPG discussions. I picture someone staring at his computer screen until his eyeballs begin to bleed. The gangsters told him they'd kill his daughter unless he memorized this list of ad hoc
neologisms. He gazes desperately at the vacant heavens, and rends his clothes asunder. "O Lord!" he bellows, "why can't I understand 'Gnarliburr
And that is totally, completely, unfair of me
. For all I know, people really have
experienced distress trying to figure out the jargon on the Forge. And that's what I'm wondering about: for all our discussions about how jargon might serve as barrier to discussions for a potential
newcomer, I'm wondering how big a problem it's been for actual
newcomers. If that was you in the Gnarliburr example, like.
How has the jargon on RPG discussion sites negatively impacted YOU personally? It's one thing to say that having to learn a few silly words is a burden; I'm curious to know how big of a burden it truly is.
===My Own Case===
I started reading the Forge in late 2004. I usually avoided the GNS and Theory folders because I personally only wanted stuff I could touch. Every so often, out of boredom, I would read a GNS thread on RPG.Net, which was always a huge waste of time; I'd occasionally check out the Forge Glossary, which was a waste of time for different reasons.
I didn't understand any of the jargon. And it didn't matter a bit. I was on the Forge to learn about fun new games, and figure out how to be a better GM. And everything worked out fine for me. I didn't need the jargon, unless I needed to argue on the Internet with complete strangers over abstract nouns suited to analyze Dungeons & Dragons. It was no biggie.
Then I discovered Vincent Baker's Hardcore Role-Playing Theory Pages
, which were (for me) utterly lucid and easy to understand. It took me, maybe, 30 minutes at most to understand these jargon terms. And I'm glad I learned the ideas, but it's not like I was suffering
for not knowing them.
To me, the whole jargon thing strikes me as odd because it was never a huge part of my experience with these sites. To me, the jargon was (a) a non-issue, and (b) a trivial burden to overcome. Apparently this is not the case for others, and I'm curious to know if others have had far worse responses.