How has Forge Language ruined YOUR life?

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  • Well, Mike, the point is that they aren't, really, not in conversations that are trying to produce something else. It's disruptive and derailing to have such conversations together in the same thread.

    I think they are certainly tolerated and I'd find it unacceptable if they were not, but there is a clear distinction between shop talk and education and I don't know a single place where they willingly intersect. I don't think that's accidental.

    Separating education and production makes each one more useful.


    As a postscript I also want to express my frustration about what I perceive as a sense of entitlement to mentorship on the part of some members of the population. I dont feel like I was ever mentored in a substantial way through direct interaction; I cobbled together an understanding by leaping in and reading and applying my critical faculties. No one taught me.

    And yet, the community at large and myself as a member of it are taken to task for not providing that mentorship and education. Haphazard and confusing threads appear where people seeking education don't get it.

    Meanwhile, there are multiple people who are offering to talk people through this material, or who are composing lessons, in measured and accessible way, and they are not getting the credit and attention that they deserve.

    Please, let the teachers teach, and let the others do their thing, so that we can bring new people into the discussion without disupting that discussion.

  • Well said, Shreyas.

    I come from the school where you show up for class everyday and the senior students throw you around for a while and never say a word. If you keep coming back someone will eventually bother to explain something to you, but it won't make any sense for another six months. I have to say, I learned a whole lot this way.

    I also went to the school where everyone explained everything they did and went out of their way to help the new people. I made a lot of friends there. I learned some things, too. But not at the same level as the first school.

    There are all kinds of schools and all kinds of students. With a bit of luck, the matching pairs find each other.

    (I wonder what it means that I learned the most at the first school but teach like the second? Weird.)
  • As someone commented on another thread, this comes down to the question of "who is Story Games for?"

    Is it only for those people who have been mentored in Forge jargon? In that case, those who have not been mentored should not expect to understand what is discussed. They could lurk and possibly be mentored, but they should consider it a priviledge and not something they're entitled to.

    I didn't think that this was the case. I had considered it my responsibility to make my meaning understood to the other people here. If I used jargon, I considered it my responsibility to at least give a measured and accessible source for the meaning.
  • Posted By: Matt_SnyderAndy, I just don't see how that in any way refutes anything I'm saying at all. "Brain damage" are still just words. People either get mad at them or not. The words don't do a thing. Which is what I said.
    "Words don't do anything" is a copout that dodges responsibility.

    Words are communication. Communication is an action that occurs between two people. Communication has as much real effect as hitting someone with a stick or stealing their favorite mug or deciding they don't get hired for a job.

    In discussing a medium whose value rests almost entirely in the power of communication, we have a responsibility to pay attention to and value that power.
  • edited May 2007
    Mike, Misuba,
    Goat throw (Throw the Goat) is not a jargon term, it is vocabulary from popular culture, and is pretty well-known. A simple google search on 'goat throw' reveals its meaning, although I think the gist is easily gathered from context. Kynn demonstrated this. In the context of the sentence 'goat-throw' appears in there is no difference between the meaning of Kynn's made-up story and what throwing the goat actually is . I saw, I believe correctly, that the question was not intended completely honestly, but was an attempt to bring the larger debate about mentorship, jargon, and outsiderdom to a thread that was about none of those things.

    Kynn's question was also asked without adding anything substantial to the thread (a very, very easy task), and I have requested, twice, that he participate fully in the conversation. I would read Kynn's story carefully, and ask questions to greater understand his game experience, and I would hope that he would do the same. My hope is that our discussion would be about our mutual love of games, and not about trivial misunderstandings of vocabulary.

    Yet I am an exclusionary monster ogre. So be it. I do not want the larger jargon conversation in the Awesome Gaming thread, and I stand by that. Anyone and everyone is welcome to contribute their awesome gaming experiences, and, once they have done so, explore others experiences, and try to get to the heart of the joy that is gaming.
  • Posted By: jhkimI had considered it my responsibility to make my meaning understood to the other people here. If I used jargon, I considered it my responsibility to at least give a measured and accessible source for the meaning.
    I'm with you up to a point, John. To be absurdist about it, if some French-speaker came onto the board, we wouldn't all need to start posting in both English and French, would we? While we certainly should be trying to communicate with the people in the community, people who want to join the community should make some effort to learn the language in order to participate.

    For my part, I don't use a lot of theory and jargon around these parts, because really, that's not what SG is for. Chunky theory goes on the Forge or my blog or just talking with Judson at 2am after playtesting.
  • Posted By: Joshua BishopRobyPosted By: jhkimI had considered it my responsibility to make my meaning understood to the other people here. If I used jargon, I considered it my responsibility to at least give a measured and accessible source for the meaning.
    I'm with you up to a point, John. To be absurdist about it, if some French-speaker came onto the board, we wouldn't all need to start posting in both English and French, would we? While we certainly should be trying to communicate with the people in the community, people who want to join the community should make some effort to learn the language in order to participate.
    Right. Sorry, I was incomplete there. Another way of phrasing the above would be that Story Game is for English-speakers. French speakers can lurk, but they shouldn't expect to understand. Conversely, posters shouldn't use French terms and expect that others should understand. No one should need French lessons to participate.

    I guess I had been assuming that the forum is for English-speaking people who play Story Games, with that being loosely defined as in the sticky.

    I had not thought that being mentored in Forge jargon was considered expected here.
  • Sigh. The point of this thread was to describe one's own experiences, not to dump on other peoples' or argue about what some theoretical person might theoretically feel in their theoretical heart-of-hearts.

    Folks, if you've read this far, the thread is officially dead. Let's not argue in this thread any more. Galactus has devoured all bio-energy upon this once-fertile world, and bids his heralds search anew.

    (Namecheck Alert: Galactus)

    In case anyone's wondering: based on the self-selected participants in this thread, it sounds like the worst thing that's happened to people is that they end up viewing users of Forge Language with distaste. But I haven't heard anything that doesn't sound like, say, at most 15 minutes on the Internet couldn't fix. How severe an obstacle this is to communication is ultimately a value judgment.

    This is a value judgment on my part - when several dozen people are thrashing out extremely abstract ideas, and have been doing so for several years, 15 minutes or so of hunting around to get up to speed on what's being discussed strikes me as fairly minimal. Obviously different people may disagree about this, but that disagreement strikes me as fundamentally irreconcilable.
  • Posted By: James_Nostackit sounds like the worst thing that's happened to people is that they end up viewing users of Forge Language with distaste. But I haven't heard anything that doesn't sound like, say, at most 15 minutes on the Internet couldn't fix. How severe an obstacle this is to communication is ultimately a value judgment.
    Spending several months trying to figure out how to share what I wanted to with my group, and the frustrations associated, could be solved by 15 minutes on the internet?

    Wow, either you totally missed that, or you get WAY better internet than I do.
  • Remi, for what it's worth, I had the exact same reaction to Kynn's post that you did. Asking a question that is answered immediately by Google (the #1 result, no less) seemed like baiting to me. I did not think you were out of line.

    But, benefit of the doubt, yeah? Liberal doses, all around, and we're all buddies again. We need to be, so we can get back to the business of punching each other in the junk.
  • James, good job trying to close the thread just when people are starting to converse with one another and find some common ground from which we can produce something positive.


    John, maybe we can talk about helping teachers and students find each other? I think you're saying something important about learning and teaching styles; maybe it's the case that there are fewer teaching styles available than potential learners need to make their learning experience as smooth as it could be.

  • edited May 2007
    Absolutely, Shreyas. I think there are not a great many available teaching styles when it comes to all things RPG. The hobby itself got by for many years with texts that were pretty hardcore sink-or-swim -- learning how to game from the DMG (as I did in the very beginning) required a huge investment from the student. There was also an oral tradition among game groups, who passed along their how-to knowledge largely through the act of running games and picking up on cues and methods through direct experience (with very little or no explicit explanation and review). Again it was a case where, if you kept coming back again and again, eventually you would pick some stuff up.

    This, of course, breeds the hardcore and sidelines those with casual interest. The same is true in any hobby with little explicit teaching among the practitioners (like skateboarding, say).

    I think we have been developing a few other teaching styles in the past decade or so, particularly in regard to game texts written as teaching tools. We have a long way to go in that department, but the trend is well underway. Ironically, it was the desire for different and more explicit teaching tools that led a lot of people to the Forge, where the much-maligned jargon was born. I, for one, did not find the exclusionary, face-on-mat lesson style when I went to the Forge, but instead found a class full of people falling all over themselves to explain as much as they could to everyone around them. I admit I arrived at an auspicious time for that.

    Anyway, to help students find the teachers they need, first we need a trained and motivated teaching force. Vincent is one, though he has been quiet lately. Ben, Brand, Mo, and John Kim too. But we'll need more, and different kinds, if our goal is outreach and inclusion (not one of my personal goals at the moment, btw). Until then, we* have a system that best serves the quiet guy who shows up and gets thrown around by the black belts for a while and accepts it with good grace. The black belts may be a little more talkative than they used to be, but they're not ready to release the comprehensive introductory DVD set yet.

    *The "we" here refers to the whole hobby intarweb: RPGnet, ENWorld, The RPG Site, and all the rest. Not just SG and the Forge.
  • Posted By: John HarperRemi, for what it's worth, I had the exact same reaction to Kynn's post that you did. Asking a question that is answered immediately by Google (the #1 result, no less) seemed like baiting to me. I did not think you were out of line.
    I wasn't baiting. I was asking, which is what people have repeatedly said should be done. "Why ya all so dumb that you don't just ASK?"

    So I ask, and I get bashed.

    Saying "you could go google and find it!" doesn't necessarily tell me what I need to know. Googling for Narrative or Sim don't help me. And goat-throw rpg and goat-throw game don't do anything either.
  • Also, I asked in whispers what "Brain damage" refers to. I don't know, but it seems others do, and I am missing some context there.

    So I asked, in a whisper, so as not to harsh the zen of the thread.

    I didn't get an answer.

    I suspect that if I had asked out loud, someone other than the original employer of that term could have told me by now.
  • Like I said, Kynn, some benefit of the doubt goes a long way. That's the part of my post where I support you and your questions. I hope you can see that. Remi and I had the same reaction, but I didn't say that judging your unknown motives was right.

    Annnnnd... while we're on it, you were not "bashed" in that thread. Remi was moderating his thread. Maybe it seemed harsh -- I get that. But there's no need to cast yourself as a victim of anything now.
  • edited May 2007
    Kynn, I want you to be in the Awesome Gaming thread as a full participant, not simply asking questions about minutiae from the sidelines. It does a disservice to you and a disservice to the conversation. If and when you decide to particpate in that thread, you will be welcomed with open arms. Until then, I'm done talking about this.
  • image

    I mean, really. Was that so hard to find?
  • edited May 2007
    [stupid whisper broke]
  • Matt,

    I hope you'll understand that I'm not really inclined to respond to what you had to say, since you used the hoary old argument that defenders of hate speech use, to make it a problem about the listener rather than the speaker.

    It's best if I don't give your words a second thought.

    After all, "they're just words".

    Unbookmarking this thread and ignoring the fuck out of it. Nobody's interested in listening to what I have to say, and I'm very, very done with trying to teach a certain segment of the community how to talk to the people it shuts out, all the while claiming "hey, it's not my problem, it's theirs!"

    Ridiculous.
  • Posted By: misubaTelling people with honest questions to make their questions invisible to others, lest they harsh the mellow, is maybe not the best way to make them feel that questions are welcomed by the community. Just sayin.
    Agreed.

    I could see how it would make sense to "take it to marginalia" if the system used threads + marginalia. That would be the nice thread-cleaning-up thing to do.

    I could probably even accept "take it to the special help thread" if there was a theory forum with a special help thread (Story Games isn't what I would consider a "theory forum" at all, though -- it's a general make-happiness-happen-during-play-and-amuse-yourself-when-you're-not-playing forum).

    But "take it to whisper" is pretty much the same as saying "just shut up already."
  • I think the Forge's Crazy Moon Language (thank you, Brand) hurt me the most when I tried to explain it to other people. I was all like, "Here is this really good idea! [gibberish]" and everyone was like, "You suck and that idea sucks and we're going to ignore this thing that could really improve our play experience." And then I was like, ":_("

    Or, okay, I should've been like, ":_(" Instead, I was like "No, you suck and your play sucks." Which gets you into big flamewars.

    Those flamewars weren't as ugly as your other basic RPG forum flamewars (e.g. about which system is better, or about whether Exalted sucks, or about whether new D&D is like a video game, or about whether paladins can eat babies and still keep their alignment). And a few people did get it. Also, to be fair, the gibberish came as much from my lack of conceptual comprehension as it did from any overuse of jargon.

    But, yeah, Forge CML made me waste a few hours on crappy Internet forums. I probably would've wasted that time having one of the other arguments listed above instead anyway, though. Most of those would've been about how other people's play sucks, too. And the thing that had all that Forge CML wrapped around it did improve my play.

    So, that's my story. It's boring as piss. I don't think you can really tell a good story about arguing on an Internet forum, though I do laugh at accounts of innovative trolls sometimes.
  • Posted By: Remi
    Goat throw (Throw the Goat) is not a jargon term, it is vocabulary from popular culture, and is pretty well-known. A simple google search on 'goat throw' reveals its meaning, although I think the gist is easily gathered from context.
    Sorry, not to derail but, from context, I could tell that it meant "that scene was cool," but I had no clue wtf the phrase meant. I eat internetty-pop-culture along with my breakfast every morning, and I've never encountered it. I was glad the question was asked and answered publically, because like Mike, I didn't get it. At all.
  • edited May 2007
    Posted By: KynnAlso, I asked in whispers what"Brain damage"refers to. I don't know, but it seems others do, and I am missing some context there.
    This is not off-topic: "Brain Damage" is a jargon term as much as "Lewinsky" is, in its arena.

    It's this thing that Ron said about a year ago (or more) when talking about gamers, that pissed everyone off and apparently caused the world to explode.

    That's what I've gotten "from context". As near as I can tell, all threads related to that event have been hidden or deleted from the universe, and no one wants to talk about it . I've asked a couple times and in a couple places and no one answers. Putting myself in their shoes, I can only assume that the people who know the answer are just fuck-all tired of talking about it.

    I've decided, simply to kill my interest in the topic, to just not give a crap about what happened or who got pissed at whom, or why. (I wasn't 'on' the internet while this was all going on, so I missed it. I think I'm pretty happy about that.)
  • Finally, totally on topic: Forge Theory-speak kicks me in the nuts when I try to explain it to other people. This has been going on for 2 or 3 years. It's continual and ongoing -- the people kicking me in the nuts simply change.

    Today, I posted a link to Vincent's posts about the theory stuff, saying "this is neat and clear and concise," and people read 'A little thing about Suspense and Death' and came back to me and said "If you play that way, why don't you just masturbate and publish Mary Jane fiction and quite wasting time playing RPGs?"

    Yes. Seriously. It never goes away.
  • Alex: Yeah, that's pretty much my experience too. I was gonna post to that effect, but you've pretty much said it.

    I was gonna reccommend that Vincent's Hardcore is a good model for talking about theory stuff, but then:

    Doyce: Ouch. I don't know what to say, that's pretty awful. Strikes me that if people can't grok the Hardcore, there's not much else to be said to them. At least about a certain area of roleplaying preferences and techniques.

    Peace,
    -Joel
  • edited May 2007
    Posted By: Doyce"If you play that way, why don't you just masturbate and publish Mary Jane fiction and quite wasting time playing RPGs?"
    The common jargon is "Mary Sue." You can glue the "Sue" to other things to make portmanteau words, like Suefic (Mary-Sue-ful fanfiction) or Suethor (less common term for the author of said fiction). Sometimes the term "Mary Sue" is unisex, sometimes weird variations like "Gary Stu" are used to refer to males.

    Ah, jargon. You can't escape it. >.>


    P.S. Goat-throw? I thought that was just called "the horns." Also, there is a crisis about its use or overuse within the metal community, which kinda makes it a bit like "Narrativism," I guess.
  • My favorite variation is to use -sue portmanteau names to indicate that a character is a Mary Sue, e.g. Autosue for Autochthon in Exalted (gah.).

  • So, killing some bitter with sweet, I too would love to see people here go over to Remi's thread...

    http://www.story-games.com/forums/comments.php?DiscussionID=3030

    ...and discuss a recent cool gaming experience. Anything, even if it's just a sentence.

    In the end, it is threads like the above that matter most here.

    -Andy
  • (This is an aside.)
    Posted By: DoyceToday, I posted a link to Vincent's posts about the theory stuff, saying "this is neat and clear and concise," and people read 'A little thing about Suspense and Death' and came back to me and said "If you play that way, why don't you just masturbate and publish Mary Jane fiction and quite wasting time playing RPGs?"
    Doyce,

    I totally ran into a problem like that a few times!

    I think the hurdle that Vincent's explanations seem to mostly assume you've already cleared is that what's going on at the table is a kind of storytelling -- it can't not be in a TRPG, because the only way to play the game out is to have scenes and some kind of narrative structure and whatnot. A pen-and-paper game you play has to be some kind of story-like thing in order to work, in order to come together and be sensible and play out in a reasonable amount of time. Too many people seem to assume that a TRPG is instead some kind of world simulation and treat it as such, ignoring all the important story stuff that the group is doing in play. That first conceptual hurdle, I think, is a pretty hard one, especially for folks who've only played big "physics engine" games like GURPS or D&D. The texts of those games often make it seem like stuff like pacing, scene-framing, &c. is secondary to the overall goal of "create a believable reality." (N.B. This isn't an argument about "physics engine" RPGs -- we can have that later. But anyone using a "physics engine" game still uses basic storytelling techniques, such as the ever-popular and always-present "skipping the mundane crap you don't want to play out," in order to make the game work. It pays to actually pay attention to that.)

    My unabashed opinion is that, no, whatever system you're using, you'll get a better game if you realize that you're still subconsciously using all these storytelling tricks and meditate a bit on how those work. I find it significantly easier to figure out the idea of "game as story" if you've messed around with "light" games, chat-based freeform, writing stories, &c. I don't think this is an obvious thing for everyone. I don't think it was always particularly obvious to me, for example. Without that first conceptual leap, I don't think the other stuff quite makes sense.
  • How forge terminolgy ruined my life:

    Girlfriend: What's this Trollbabe?
    Me: Its uhm, a roleplaying game.
    Girlfriend: it looks dumb. You mean like White wolf?
    Me: Well, not really.
    Girlfriend: I think White Wolf is the best. Why make another game?
    Me: Well, if you like, played roleplaying games, you'd know they're for different things. Like, this game might be called, narrativist.
    Girlfriend: What? Narrativist? Does that mean you think you're smarter than me?
    Me: Not exactly.
    Girlfriend: You think you're smarter than me. You look down on me.
    Me: Its just a term.
    *She throws cold water on me*
  • I don't post here much, and I feel bad tossing a sizable chunk of my posting real estate into the furnace; but I feel a confessional coming on. Forge language has touched me in the bad place and continues to do so from time to time. And usually I'm not even flirting with it when it happens.

    The incidents usually follow this sort of scenario. Someone on a forum much like this one brings up a topic that appeals to me, and one that I feel I can constructively contribute to. I start talking about my personal beliefs about what makes a game better and how I have applied these beliefs while playing and designing games. I try to avoid any jargon--often to the point of dodging shortcuts like GM and RPG--but occasionally some will slip in.

    And then I inadvertently use some word or turn of a phrase that a has a clear meaning in the context of what I'm saying; but also has a significantly different meaning when viewed through the filter of Forge language. The resulting miscommunication often ignites a completely useless argument in which both sides are actually talking about different topics that are only superficially similar. Like an entomologist and a mechanic arguing about the merits of beetles.

    Fortunately, none of these arguments has had a lasting impact on my friendships. But I will say they have caused a lot of undue stress, and because they occur on the Internet and involve a relatively insignificant subject, when they do happen, nothing in the world seems more important than winning them.

    So I have learned to become much more cautious and guarded when discussing over the Internet how I really feel about games. Hell, it is getting to the point where I'm afraid to use the word play casually because I feel it is on the verge of meaning something I don't intend it to mean.
  • Posted By: DoycePosted By: KynnAlso, I asked in whispers what"Brain damage"refers to. I don't know, but it seems others do, and I am missing some context there.
    This is not off-topic: "Brain Damage" is a jargon term as much as "Lewinsky" is, in its arena.

    It's this thing that Ron said about a year ago (or more) when talking about gamers, that pissed everyone off and apparently caused the world to explode.

    That's what I've gotten "from context". As near as I can tell, all threads related to that event have been hidden or deleted from the universe, and no one wants to talk about it . I've asked a couple times and in a couple places and no one answers. Putting myself in their shoes, I can only assume that the people who know the answer are just fuck-all tired of talking about it.

    I've decided, simply to kill my interest in the topic, to just not give a crap about what happened or who got pissed at whom, or why. (I wasn't 'on' the internet while this was all going on, so I missed it. I think I'm pretty happy about that.)

    There's a pretty good podcast interview here:

    http://theoryfromthecloset.com/2007/05/14/show008-interview-with-ron-edwards/

    In which Satan himself talks extensively about the Brain Damage business.
  • Posted By: Sean MusgraveHow forge terminolgy ruined my life:

    Girlfriend: What's this Trollbabe?
    Me: Its uhm, a roleplaying game.
    Girlfriend: it looks dumb. You mean like White wolf?
    Me: Well, not really.
    Girlfriend: I think White Wolf is the best. Why make another game?
    Me: Well, if you like, played roleplaying games, you'd know they're for different things. Like, this game might be called, narrativist.
    Girlfriend: What? Narrativist? Does that mean you think you're smarter than me?
    Me: Not exactly.
    Girlfriend: You think you're smarter than me. You look down on me.
    Me: Its just a term.
    *She throws cold water on me*
    Oh shit! Dude, please tell me that's not real. 'Cause if it is you win and I'm sworn off jargon for life :D
  • edited May 2007
    It's funny, but on the Forge if you tried to continue a thread after it had been closed, you would get strongly moderated to stop. Verbally, Ron won't actually force you to stop unless you become recalcitrant, but strongly.

    I don't know if that same standard applies here. But I think for anyone who supposedly upholds the Forge standards here, it's hypocritical not to then follow them all, or follow them only when convenient. Which is to say that I think that James, even if dead wrong about stopping the conversation here (which I don't think he is), even then has been wronged. How can you tell another person to take something to whisper, or to start another thread when appropriate, and then not do so yourself when asked?

    I think that this thread could, in fact, benefit from some splitting off. The teacher/student thing demands a whole thread by itself, in fact, and would even if James had not closed this one. As do several other important and interesting tangents.

    I have other things to say with regards to the above as well, but in order to avoid looking hypocritical myself for once, I'm going to leave this thread and only continue on ones split off from it. I suggest that others do as well.

    Andy has his own standards I'm sure, and they may not include enforcing thread shut downs by the originators. But I don't think he has any standard that says that we can't uphold the higher standard if we wish. I'll stand corrected by Andy if I'm wrong about this.

    Mike
  • Apologies -- I somehow missed the post where the thread had been closed. My bad.
  • edited May 2007
    Posted By: DoyceApologies -- I somehow missed the post where the thread had been closed. My bad.
    Er, well, there's no official thread closings, unless I come along and physically snap the thread closed to be unpostable.

    However, I very much agree with the spirit in which Mike posted the above:
    Andy has his own standards I'm sure, and they may not include enforcing thread shut downs by the originators. But I don't think he has any standard that says that we can't uphold the higher standard if we wish. I'll stand corrected by Andy if I'm wrong about this.
    So while the thread is not officially closed and all, the original poster made a request (which we could or could not honor: Note, I didn't even notice the original poster's thread close request at the time, either), and we could go ahead and take the ripe ideas to new threads.

    As it is, discussion here seems to be winding down anyway. So new threads would probably the best way, socially, to get fresh eyes and thoughts into them.
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