[sink]The SG Community

edited June 2009 in Forum Discussion
(I was in the process of posting this when Andy closed that other thread. I think it is something that needs to be brought up though, and not so we can all argue over it but so we can consider it and perhaps come to conclusions about the way we all participate on this board. Maybe even helpful solutions. I dunno. I just think ending a "discussion" in the state the other was ended in doesn't promote healthy interaction and results in subsequent bad mojo down the line. I definitely understand why Andy closed that other thread down though, out of hand is out of hand. So, please, if you want to respond, do so in a helpful manner with "benefit of the doubt" stamped firmly at the front of your mind.)


I think that all this... I dunno, emotion over these differences has been simmering here for awhile now. Mainly I think that is because on one level there's this "we're all friends here" vibe that gets propogated about, then there's the other level. That's the level where, in fact, we are all not friends here. We're drawn to this "internet community" by certain interests that we do tend to have in common. Politics, morality, sexuality, religion, are not those things. But those are things that more often than not have a higher priority in our minds and hearts, and probably define who we are to a greater degree, than our common love of gaming and games of various sorts.

This is a public place. Very little is required to gain entry. Which makes it all the more important and tricky to maintain an atmosphere of open arms and welcome for everyone that shares the interests this particular internet community is about.

I originally posted in this thread in a lighthearted manner to show how I felt about the original thread topic. I probably should have not posted at all. Regardless, while I don't in any way support being censored or anything else that removes a person's right of expression, things like civility, politeness, and consideration of others are a necessity for a community like this. That goes for givers as well as the giver-backers. That whole two wrongs don't make a right thing.

So, I hope at least something useful comes out of this besides bad feelings and such. We will never all be friends here, but we can at least be respectful of each other as human beings while interacting in this small circle of interest we all share.
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Comments

  • I think there's a delicate balance between two cultures on this site:
    * Folks who take things Very Seriously and would like others to do so as well or ignore their threads.
    * Folks who regularly crack jokes, in any and all threads. All the more so in the Very Serious threads.

    Me, I do both: when I sense something's mostly a lark, I'm as ready with a joke as the next guy (but not as much as some, who seem to operate only in that irreverent mode); when I perceive that a discussion is Very Serious or that someone is expressing a real concern about something, I try to match their tone. I think I generally follow that pattern, regardless of in being the Intertubez or in person (I consider that distinction to be irrelevant, these days). I call it, loosely, "respect."

    The only group of people for whom I have no respect are those who offer none themselves or those who expect it without earning it. As such, this community is no different from, say, my local bar--the thoughtful and patient and cooperative conversationalist get great respect from me, as does the wit who chimes in with a germane and well-timed quip; the drunken louts who think loud equals funny are ignored or, more often, slyly mocked with subtle comments and double entendres (we like bear baiting). The crude and abrasive are typically asked to leave (or, at times, beat the fuck up).

    It's Just Life, I figure; thinking it's something different because it's digital is, frankly, about obsolete--that's the stuff of anonymous BBSes of the 80s (and sites whose whole point is to host similar, like digital romper rooms).
  • edited June 2009
    I think there's something to what you're saying, David, but I also think the distinction between being the internet or being a real-space venue is a big part of it.

    The whole Very Serious vs. Jokey McJokey, yes, that's part of the dynamic I'd say. But sometimes who is playing the role of Very Serious and Jokey McJokey switches. That and we also get Snarky McSerious, Jokey ButSerious, and so on. I know for myself, if all this was happening face-to-face, I'd have almost no problem discerning the subtleties of response and interaction. But over the internet? No way. There's a special fog of translation that overlays a good deal of interaction. Context helps, being familiar with the way a particular person posts helps, but it just doesn't make up for lack of the other cues that the hardwired part of my animal brain finds necessary.

    I think a lot of misunderstanding evolves from this mode of communication as well as a lot of "numb" posting. A type of posting that results from the sense (conscious or not) that this isn't quite a real sincere form of communication anyway, that the words being typed don't have the real solid effect that they do when said to someone's face. Generally a stranger's face at that. So we get obfuscation coming and going. And it adds up.

    Also, it's very unlikely for someone to get asked to leave this forum. In the real public places I've been in, everyone involved in the flare up in the other thread would have been asked to leave. Period. Maybe not forever, but anyone who raised a voice in anger and anyone associated with them would be shown the door for day. And it is pretty damn hard to beat someone up over the internet. Many have tried and failed.

    So those factors all contribute to creating a sort of pressure cooker. Not everyone contributes to making it a pressure cooker. Generally, the people who don't contribute to the pressure keep their posting focused on the primary topics that Story Games is about, and they do so in a polite and respectful manner. Then there are some that probably don't care if the pressure builds, might even considerate it a good thing, probably the sort that consider any place they have access to a proper platform for whatever agenda(s) they represent. I dunno, speculation. Most of us are probably somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, and any harshing we do to the copacetic isn't intentional.

    Beyond moderating SG in a manner that resembles Ron's very tight (and for the purposes of that forum, quite excellent) moderation of The Forge is the way in which we're willing to moderate ourselves. Thinking something is humorous (or harmless) doesn't automatically give you the right to put it out in a public place. I've been guilty of this myself I think, but usually on the indie-netgaming irc channel. I tend to make forum posts with less spontaneity than my irc chatter.

    I'm sure I've got more to say, but this already a long post.

    *edited to add that approaching public communication with the attitude that others should be thicker-skinned is entirely unhelpful. The only two groups that don't care if their public voices directly agitate people are activists and hate groups.
  • I really appreciate your thoughts on this, Chris. Thanks for bringing it up.
  • Posted By: C. EdwardsIn the real public places I've been in, everyone involved in the flare up in the other thread would have been asked to leave. Period. Maybe not forever, but anyone who raised a voice in anger and anyone associated with them would be shown the door for day. And it is pretty damn hard to beat someone up over the internet. Many have tried and failed.
    Yes, yes, and yes. There is no true substitute for sincere, face-to-face human communication. People will always have differences in public forums like this, and the sad thing is I suspect that we never see the best examples of resolutions of those differences because they happen in whispers, or on Skype, or in person at conventions, where people have to communicate on a progressively more human level.
  • Regarding the Serious versus Joker, here's a question: Who is the forum set out to serve?

    If I create a serious thread, and someone comes in and makes an irreverent joke, are they threadcrapping?

    If I create a thread based on an irreverent approach to something, and it's reasonably clear I'm joking (if offensive), and someone comes in and brings up the serious issues I'm mocking, are they threadcrapping?

    And Andy, whose forum it is (I thought of using "Who owns this forum" in the beginning, and this is why I haven't), had supplied an answer. Which is ambiguous, but is there, "The one harshing the zen is in the wrong." I think it's quite easy to see how two people could be harshing the zen in each scenario, or only one. In the end, this is a forum, and we're all adults, and participation is voluntary and requires an act of choice.

    As a slight aside, I keep finding it odd about people saying that these things work out much better in person. I myself act offline as I do online, plus touching.
  • Post in this thread to support changing my username to Jokey J. McJokerson.
  • Posted By: C. EdwardsI think a lot of misunderstanding evolves from this mode of communication as well as a lot of "numb" posting. A type of posting that results from the sense (conscious or not) that this isn't quite a real sincere form of communication anyway, that the words being typed don't have the real solid effect that they do when said to someone's face. Generally a stranger's face at that. So we get obfuscation coming and going. And it adds up.
    Good observation. Thanks for posting all this Chris.

    I think many of your points apply to most online communities. But I also think (and this isn't meant to downplay criticism of story games at all) that story games gets a bad rap. Especially in contrast to many online communities. Whenever I see a post that makes me so mad I want to post back in a malicious way, I hop over to Youtube and read the comments and discussions there... OMG! There is so much vitriol spewed online it makes me thankful for story games. Now that doesn't mean thinks can't improve here. They can. And I'm happy to analyze and discuss it. I just think it's good to remember the good in context to the larger whole. I know when ever there is a blow up there is a lot of "story games" sucks talk. And I personally don't want story games to go away.
  • Chris, I'm glad that you bring this up, as you're one of the few people here that I perceive to be consistently civil. It'd be much harder to take seriously coming from, um, anybody else really. Except possibly Selene.

  • There's another thing, that's already implicit in the title of this thread, "The SG Community".

    This is an incidental community, a heterogenous one. We may all like "Story Games" (though the story games each of us likes can be quite different), but that means nothing of our religious and political beliefs matching, for example.

    This is fine and good, except for the fact that we all like our community (weak relations between members) to be Community (with strong relations between members, more agreement, we want to feel like the others share our beliefs, we always do). And should that continue to happen, then it's true, something will have to give. Someone will have to give.

    If we make the fact we're all story-gamers the most important thing, then it'd work, as all the rest will become incidental, something not truly important to our personnas and interactions here. But you've pointed out rightly Chris, we tend to think of our opinions and beliefs regarding these issues as much more important, so when they clash, and they'd keep clashing so long as they're allowed to come forward and so long we don't drive all the people who don't share our opinions, then it'd come down on the SG community as a Story-Games oriented community.

    Something will have to give: Either differing opinions, or airing our opinions regarding non-SG related issues.
    Or of course, having this community.
  • I've talked to friends about the dynamic here, and one thing I realized is that I sort of self-edit. I don't engage with certain people (like Shreyas) and I avoid certain topics and conversations that I know will push particular buttons. While this keeps my participation positive and productive from my point of view, lately I've begun to realize how constraining this is. I wish it was different. When I try to imagine solutions, it always comes around to a smaller, more collegial forum where the button-pushing elements (and people) simply weren't part of the equation. And that's fine, and I have those places, but I really value the cross-section of people who hang out here, and the new faces and new ideas.

    So Chris, do you think this sort of group dynamic is inevitable? John points out, rightly I think, that for the level of moderation around here we do pretty well. But when it fails, it fails spectacularly.
  • Guy,

    I don't really think Serious vs. Joker (this so has me thinking of Spy vs. Spy) is where the lines are drawn. The real issue is closer to this: Somebody who finds the joking offensive does not see it as a joke. Just offensive and likely hurtful in ways the person doing the joking does not understand.

    Ideally, human being to human being, I think the person who is offended/hurt should whisper to the joker to please not continue with the offending thread/posting. The joker should then state, gracefully, that they're closing the thread or whatever because they've been asked to do so. If they don't I can only assume it is because they do not care that their "joke" is causing pain. That their ego is much bigger than their capability for empathy. That would, ideally, be all it takes to self-moderate ourselves. Would it be more messy in practice? Most likely. But that's certainly not a reason not to try. It requires a good deal of all sorts prickly inner effort on both the offended and the offenders part. Plus support for this kind of resolution from the rest of the community. Not snideness or sarcasm.

    Even with straight up inoffensive joking, or focused and serious discussion, putting a disclaimer in your post with what the posting guidelines for the thread are going to be is probably a good idea. At least, if you don't want chocolate in your peanut butter. Then, if someone comes along and pees in the pool, give them a polite warning, remind them of the guidelines for the thread, and carry on. If it happens again, well, that's why Andy has the great big moderator stick of DOOM. Responsibility and Great Power and all that.

    As far as coming to Story Games being a choice. Yes, it is. It's a choice that I would rather people not have to make based upon which sex/gender/religion/politicalviewpoint is being joked about that day. Because eventually, the choice will be made to just not come back at all. As far as I'm concerned that would make SG very exclusive, in the bad way. (Is there even a good way?)
  • I'll add to your very good point, Chris, by pointing out something vis a vis this:
    Posted By: C. EdwardsThere's a special fog of translation that overlays a good deal of interaction. Context helps, being familiar with the way a particular person posts helps, but it just doesn't make up for lack of the other cues that the hardwired part of my animal brain finds necessary.
    I think it's worth pointing out that there is a very common way to remove some of the obfuscation, and it was invented for use on the Internet: emoticons. So, for instance, had the aforementioned "flare up thread's" subject line or (at least post content) contained a :) or a ;), then it would have been slightly (slightly) differently perceived, initially. (Nothing would have rectified the back and forth that is going to ensue over claims of silencing or insensitivity, as it presumes intent AND judges the individual for that intent.)

    Another point worth mentioning is that, for most modes of viewing threads here, the subject line is sort of "in your face." Hard to filter out (to "ignore stuff you don't like") and hard to pick up full context (being so-often abbreviated or a summary or even a "clever" misdirection). To draw a real-world parallel: I might get offended if I happened to overheard someone, in private and relatively quiet conversation, use a racist or sexist pejorative... but I wouldn't have much cause to go butt in and and get "PC" on them. Conversely, if someone walks into the bar and SHOUTS that pejorative, for all to hear, then it's now become a valid issue for my own personal offense: it's become blatant disrespect. Funnily enough, that almost never happens in real life, except when someone is trying to start a fight with one or more of the patrons.

    Free speech isn't the right to cry "Fire!" in a crowded room, to paraphrase an original authority on the matter.

    Lastly, I totally agree with your edited-in point that expecting folks to be thick-skinned is disingenuous. I'd go further, even, and suggest that in a heterogeneous community (cool term, Guy) one must rather approach it with quite the opposite attitude: one must operate from the assumption that no matter how innocently or trivially one feels one's phrasing or behavior should be perceived, it is MUCH safer to assume it will be found as negative and wanting. It's best, in short, to just avoid any term that qualifies as a pejorative towards any group, class, or type of people; and it's a wise poster that takes the time to use clear and neutral diction. "Read generously" can only be stretched so far; and some things simply can't be taken in a generous manner by some folks (mostly victims of similar or related abuse).

    Even shorter: use your indoor voice, and pretend that at least one listener is an alternate-sexuality, minority, victim of childhood rape who required an abortion and who has one or more mental and physical handicaps which shape their faith and the way they vote (I think I got all the hot buttons; I'm sure the reader has gotten the point).

    Put REAL short: be respectful. If you wouldn't say it to a judge when on trial, reconsider saying it in a generally public forum.
  • edited June 2009
    For me, I've just had to learn more and more that this is not a forum of my friends, and every time I treat it as one it goes badly. And when I treat it as a forum of strangers, I'm fine.
  • edited June 2009
    Chris, regarding the whispering option, it's a problem. In a way, it assumes what you want proven, in regards to the discussion that led here.

    The claim that we shouldn't say what offends others is one claim, the stronger claim that we can't is another. Many important issues offend someone, on some side, we talk of them even though we're aware that they're offensive to someone. Such as most religious, political, or whatever issues. Take abortion, for a random pick, whatever you say about it, you're going to offend someone. I think the most we can ask for realistically is that those who bring up a touchy subject be aware of its touchy-ness.

    Also, I'd advise painting anyone who doesn't agree with a certain stance as a "Non-member", such as, "Anyone who doesn't agree with X is a horrible person", especially not in a thread like this when you are trying to talk to people you disagree with. You're painting a group of "People", and you're also painting everyone else as "The Horrible Other", which is far from productive, and again, assumes your position is right prior to the discussion, and in fact, makes the discussion irrelevant seeming.

    And you will have to exclude someone. Exclusion might not be good, but a certain level of it is required. The question here is twofold: How much exclusion is acceptable, and who are you willing to exclude?
    So I'm bringing this up because if you want to look at it long and hard, it's this way. You can't assume which political values, and which modes of discussion* are legit, unless you're ready to make the choice of exclusion before having the discussion.

    * But of course you already have modes of discussion which are acceptable and some which are not. We don't come here as tabula rasa, and we do share some values. But I'm taking it to the far end because it shows what I mean, and more importantly, because the cut-off point between "Shared" and "unshared" values is truly ephemereal, and is what causes most clashes, and thus it can't just be assumed to be at any specific point.
    The moderator can decide which he's willing to tolerate, and that's something else, and a basis for (mostly self-)exclusion.
  • Bret FTW.

    Just because you game, or even like the same kinds of games, there is absolutely no implication that you might like, or even be civil to, each other in the real world. I have no idea why the myth of "fellow gamers" who share values and kinship continues to persist.

    p.
  • Ha! Bret sums up my dilemma very wisely and succinctly. His observation also, maybe, points to the impossibility of this place being a place for friends. If that's the case, OK, but I like friends.
  • I too am enjoying the sunshine that is Bret's wisdom.

  • Posted By: Paul BJust because you game, or even like the same kinds of games, there is absolutely no implication that you might like, or even be civil to, each other in the real world.
    I actually think the standards seem to be much, much lower than that. I interact with strangers every day and manage to be perfectly civil to them about 99.44% of the time.
  • edited June 2009
    Jason,

    I do think things go pretty smoothly here for the level of moderation, amazingly smoothly most of the time in fact. I've been noticing for a while now though a sort of slow degredation of the amount of... emotional consideration(?) being given to topics and posts. Maybe that's just my imagination though. But I wasn't particularly surprised when Graham's thread went zooming downhill. When things do go badly, like they did recently, that just seems to me to be a perfect opportunity for course correction. Not a yank the wheel hard to starboard correction, but a small adjustment, mostly in the minds of everyone participating in discussion on this forum.

    Regardless of whatever we would LIKE to think, we all know for a fact that every person participating here is different from us. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, and sometimes just in a seemingly insignificant way that wadda ya know turns out to be very important. Keeping that idea, and a spirit of goodwill foremost in our thoughts while interacting here is probably the best any of us can do. There will be slip-ups. There will be apologies needed and apologies given and accepted. That's life and we all screw up. We mainly just need to be graceful about it and not rush to rattle our sabers.

    At no point do I think that no effort will be involved in maintaining the sort of forum atmosphere that we all want to participate in. Think of it as social entropy. It's easier to let everything go and let come what may, but not very satisfying. I think the key is that we can do it without putting the job on just one or two people. Andy's moderation doesn't have to change, nor does he need to recruit a merry band of wrist slappers. Each one of us, every time we post, whisper, or create a new thread can put forth a relatively small amount of effort to help keep things on course. Reflect upon SG as a public place and a community of disparate people, people with feelings that we have no reason to hurt.

    I know to some this all probably sounds very dirty-hippy and perhaps castrating in a sense, maybe particularly to some of my fellow Americans. I have some of that feeling myself though, and Bruce Banner also doesn't have much on me when it comes to what happens when I get angry (unfortunately). But communities don't thrive on "I have a right to do this regardless of any damage it may do". So I would only ask that, in the service and interests of this community (meaning, the people that make up this community), people take it upon themselves to do a little self-editing. Nothing that wouldn't be asked of most of us in most real-space public places. Probably less than if you're at your grandmother's house.
  • If I didn't care what you folks thought, I'd be gone. I'm here because I've met and played with more than a couple members, and I like to stay in some kind of touch, and I appreciate feedback on ideas and exchange of (logical, fruitful) information with like-minded people (in this case, gamers of a non-traditional ilk).

    But, honestly, I'd call that "associates," as I reserve "friend" for a far more committed relationship, involving a far higher threshold of tolerance and support; but that's not a negative judgment at all--certainly far and away more positive than "random stranger" or "enemy." (I don't really have any of the latter, excepting certain people in power in our country and the world, but that is WAY off topic.)

    So, for me, it's just kind of sad that folks come in here and treat others no better or worse than, say, a checkout clerk at a convenience store on your way to a town you've never visited. It's particularly sad, when folks treat others as if they DESERVE to be butts of jokes or targets of ridicule; now they are pointing and laughing at the clerks' hairlip. And here is, perhaps, another very salient point about Humor vs Serious: it is VERY risky to toss out humor to an audience that doesn't know you at all--to strangers. So, then, the Jokey McJokeys that treat all of us like strangers are, basically, electively taking a risk of offense almost at all times. And that's just... well, staggeringly inconsiderate, to me, but I was raised in a certain part of the world where propriety is valued (sadly, often more than righteousness).

    To those who see only blank faces and targets: my heart goes out to you, in pity. I'd recommend leaving the online world until its interface is sufficient to trigger your empathy. You'll be happier and (irrelevantly, I know) so will we. :(
  • Acomplishment Unlocked

    Analysis Paralysis.

    Hey Guyz I accidently in ur thread srry.
  • Really the problem comes down to a half-dozen-or-so oversensitive folks who are the Wrong Kind of People for the forum. We should simply ban the riffraff and be done with it.

    I think we all know who I'm talking about.

    p.
  • Paul,

    I hope that's a sort of "sarcasm to highlight an issue" post. If that's the kind of forum people want, more power to them. But then the sign needs to explicitly state that I think. Not just Story Games, but Story Games: If We Think You're Oversensitive You Can Fuck Right Off.
  • Chris,

    Thank you for providing the punch line.

    p.
  • Guy,

    Yeah, no force in the universe could keep communication among humans from being a messy endeavor I think. Perfection isn't what were shooting for here. Understanding and thoughtfulness don't require perfection fortunately.

    I definitely don't want to portray one side as always being in the wrong either. Like I said, effort on everybody's parts is required, offender and offended. This issue isn't about being wrong or right, or even feeling wrong or right. It's about respecting that our fellow community members have feelings, and being mindful that the things we say can cause pain. At the end of the day we're all responsible for our own emotions, but that doesn't mean we want to keep frequenting a forum where people are regularly, and without any apparent necessity, pulling our triggers.
  • edited June 2009
    edit: ::cross posted with many people::

    The friend vs. stranger thing doesn’t ring true for me personally. I have several work, family, school friends, local friends only forums and many of these issues still exist.

    I know many of the people on story games that tend to ruffle people’s feathers and they act the same online as they do offline. But the big difference is what they say isn’t offensive or as offensive in person. And when there is a clash of any sort, it can be resolved in person in a matter of minutes. There are many people I’m friends with in person that I don’t interact with as much online for these reasons.

    What Guy says here does ring true to me. And it’s an issue I see happening with my private forum groups as well:
    Posted By: Thunder_God If we make the fact we're all story-gamers the most important thing, then it'd work, as all the rest will become incidental, something not truly important to our personnas and interactionshere. But you've pointed out rightly Chris, we tend to think of our opinions and beliefs regarding these issues as much more important, so when they clash, and they'd keep clashing so long as they're allowed to come forward and so long we don't drive all the people who don't share our opinions, then it'd come down on the SG community as a Story-Games oriented community.

    Something will have to give: Either differing opinions, or airing our opinions regarding non-SG related issues.
  • edited June 2009
    On nerdnyc we gave people the option to ignore all posts from users they specify. And people overall seem much happier. Although it does make things much less exciting. But more functional.
  • edited June 2009
    Guy,

    There was something tickling my brain about your statement of wanting community to be Community. I've realized what it was now. I think if people feel they're working together to build and support a community, based on whatever interest or commonality, that it goes a long way to turning that c into a C. If people come to Story Games knowing that, regardless of any differences of opinion in other areas, they are working together with the other members of the community to promote and maintain a high level of basic human respect and interaction around this common thing we all love then we've travelled a long way to making community into Community.
  • Posted By: jenskotOn nerdnyc we gave people the option to ignore all posts from users they specify. And people overall seem much happier.
    It would please me intensely for that feature on this site. I have some experience with the feature elsewhere and it makes websites so much more pleasant.
  • I know this will sound odd, but you need different forms of respect and interaction for different goals. If we come together for a Story Games oriented Community, then we'll give respect and act charitably in the manner that having an SG oriented Community requires. Which is not the same as a Community for going over academic papers, or one for minority groups, or one for people suffering from depression.

    I'm not sure that there truly are "Basic forms of human respect" that are shared. I think there are forms that are more basic, more common denominator (as in, they exist in more groups). But sometimes they get in the form of certain types of interaction - they may not fit (the forms, not the attitude) when it's a culture focused about criticisms of art-work (Think for the discussions regarding "The New Honesty", about how we need to change the format of discussion to make criticisms more common), but they're great when what we want is to feel "Together", and as if there's someone who's got our back in the world of gaming.

    That's the thing, in part. It's not truly one Community, or even one community. Different people come here with different goals, and while their attitude of respect may be shared, they each act differently based on it and the type of community they're trying to foster.

    Also, for Big C Community, it may not be a feasible goal. It means we are to become friends, and while the Story Games may be the glue that holds us, it means we need to feel closer to the other participants, and while SGs may be what begins it, it includes looking at others' religious and political viewpoints, and such. It's feasible, many of us can be friends with people who hold opinions we dislike (I have friends with diametrically opposite opinions, I can manage). But it's a problem when you want hundreds of people to all get along with everyone else.

    And my point about "Choosing" comes forth now. Choosing out of the community is the extreme, the simple cases are choosing out of a thread, or out of addressing and/or reading what specific users have to say. Just like we do in real life.

    The thing, to me, in the end? That we're humans, we throw our conceptions and values onto others. You say, "If I feel X towards someone, I act as X1, and if I feel Y towards someone, I do Y1". The thing is, some people here will feel X towards someone and do Y1, which to you may mean the opposite. So, they do care for the others, they do show respect and/or try to form a Community here, the ways are just different, and when you see that different way, you think they also have different goals. Natural, quite probable, but not necessary.
  • edited June 2009
    I have a greasemonkey app that lets me ignore whoever I want to on any vanilla forum.

    It is joy.

    (P.S. I don't know if this is actually relevant, as I can't read a single post in this thread.)
  • edited June 2009
    Posted By: C. EdwardsIdeally, human being to human being, I think the person who is offended/hurt should whisper to the joker to please not continue with the offending thread/posting.
    Yes. Judd has occasionally told me I'm being a dick about things, and I suddenly realise I am being a dick, and rectify the situation.

    Also, if someone whispers that I've genuinely hurt their feelings, I'll generally feel awful and stop doing whatever I'm doing. For example, if someone gay had whispered to me in that thread, I'd have stopped dead in my tracks: as it was, I edited the title just in case. I hate actually making people sad.

    Having said that, I'm not taking full responsibility for the argument in that thread. That was really very vitriolic. Astonishing.

    Graham
  • Think first, post later.
  • Posted By: Bret GillanFor me, I've just had to learn more and more that this is not a forum of my friends, and every time I treat it as one it goes badly. And when I treat it as a forum of strangers, I'm fine.
    This is not a bad summation of my own experience. I truly LOVE the concept of "the Zen" and it was a selling point to me from what I considered the growing "managed" discussion going on on other forums, or the chaos. It was serious people dealing with a fun topic in serious and sometimes fun ways. For each discussion of engagement or refinement of some aspect of play I have enjoyed, I have also enjoyed a "help me build a better evil lair" thread or something else equally non-philosophical.

    I have seen some people who use fairly callous language and discussion in other places become angry when their Sacred Cows were tilted at here alot of late. I know my opinions are not shared by the entire populous, and would hate a world where everyone agreed on anything (except of course that Firefly should have had a second season and Highlander II should have never been made). I don't think a game forum is the place for these discussions even if crouched in a game theme.

    Let's talk about what we share and not worry so much when someone diverts from our way too very much. This is the Internet, you can't fix people here. You can talk to them, though, so let's do that instead.

    My two cents...

    Also, Andy does a damn good job of running things around here. Let's make his job easier by keeping that Zen super-unharshed, eh?
  • If you feel the need to tell someone to fuck off, I don't think you should be posting in that thread.
  • I can't help but agree with what Michael said.
  • Posted By: pigeonPosted By: Paul BJust because you game, or even like the same kinds of games, there is absolutely no implication that you might like, or even be civil to, each other in the real world.
    I actually think the standards seem to be much, much lower than that. I interact with strangers every day and manage to be perfectly civil to them about 99.44% of the time.

    I do too. I also rarely talk about anything interesting or important to me with strangers, because, well, they're strangers.

    On the internet, I will talk about interesting and important things with strangers. That's awesome, because it means I get to talk about interesting and important things any time I want. Sometimes, when talking to these strangers, I'm going to say things that people take the wrong way and become offended by, at which point I'll apologize. Other times, when talking to these strangers, I'm going to say things that people take the right way and become offended by, at which point I will not apologize, because I don't feel that holding an opinion that someone else disagrees with is something to apologize for. Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

    And sometimes, people will say things that I find offensive. At that point, I'll either shake my head and move on or I'll get involved in another stupid internet argument. Either way, the responsibility for my becoming offended rests squarely upon me.

    Fuck me if I can't take a joke.
  • Hey Ron,

    Like I said above, I think we're all responsible for our own emotions, becoming offended included. On the flip side I think we're also all responsible for whether or not we carelessly cause pain to others. Everybody has to put forth a little effort for a community to function well.

    I agree with you that an opinion isn't something we need apologize for having. But I do think that sometimes putting an opinion out where it probably doesn't belong is something we do need to apologize for doing. For some people that is a very difficult thing to do, even if in reflection they think that they screwed up. It's a trade off. Do we want to be righteous, or would we rather be graceful? I know righteous comes pretty easily to me, and I don't like it. More often than not it's an armor, a shield that we use to protect who we are, but it's also blinding and makes no allowances for understanding.
  • Just want to say that I appreciate the participation in this thread (even JD, I LOL'd). And I appreciate all those that didn't participate but perhaps read along and considered. Thanks.
  • This whole "community" thing rings awfully false to me, to be honest. (If you agree with me, you can be part of my community). It's a web forum with a good atmosphere, which is a rare and very nice thing. But community? I call granfalloon. We don't have a common project, and most of us wouldn't recognize each other on the street.
  • I am officially part of Matthijs' community. BFF!

    p.
  • Matthijs,

    If people want to be less proud and more meaningful I'm all for it. You can't create or bring together a community from people that have no desire to be a community.

    An internet community is going have its differences when compared to a real-space community. Of course most of us wouldn't recognize each other on the street. But I think there is a community of spirit revolving around our common project; the play and enjoyment of the wide variety of games we usually call role-playing games. If you don't think all the jabbering, technique trading, tips and tricks, even design that goes on here in the interest of making good fun play is a group project, well, all I can do is point at it and shrug my shoulders. Seems very much like a common project to me, even if we all bring something different away from the endeavor.
  • Chris,

    Serious question time now: If you removed what you perceive to be the community element of this site, what would remain for you?

    (Side note: I can sense the thread sliding into "what is community, anyway?" definitional-warfare territory. At which point I suppose we might as well call it done.)

    p.
  • Chris, "in the interest of making good fun play"... it's a good aim, but there are no rules to enforce it, and people aren't really working together towards it. The design you mention is a good example: We have some really fun design threads here, but people don't actually play the games very much. (The role-playing poem competition? I tried to get someone to play the winning poem with me, but not one single person wanted to. Jonathan's Murderland competition? Um, not much play there either, I think. The immersion competition? Etc.)

    While I think there's some common vibe here, that the place has a spirit different from other places, that's not the same as us having a common project. We're just a bunch of mostly nice people wanting to talk about our hobby in a specific way. Which is good, and it's what I want when I come here. But the "we're a community!" flag-waving here always makes me go Monty Python: "I'm not."
  • The fact that many contest games don't get a lot of play (any play?) is definitely worth discussing in a new thread.

    Perhaps we could agree that trying to define community is a semantic rabbit hole best avoided?
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarPerhaps we could agree that trying to define community is a semantic rabbit hole best avoided?
    Agreed.
  • Jason, I think you just volunteered to start a thread. Right? I smell play contest. (What the hell that means, I have no idea.)
  • Jason, Matt, poached your idea for a play contest.
  • Posted By: MatthijsThis whole "community" thing rings awfully false to me, to be honest. (If you agree with me, you can be part of my community). It's a web forum with a good atmosphere, which is a rare and very nice thing. But community?I call granfalloon.We don't have a common project, and most of us wouldn't recognize each other on the street.
    I totally agree, Matthijs. Forums are cool places, but they are not community. You can talk to people on forums with whom you have community in real life, and you can meet people through forums who become community in real life, but I don't think community exists on the internet. It's too removed from real experience.
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