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Community forum request

Started by Brian Leybourne, April 12, 2003, 06:51:21 AM

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Brian Leybourne

Hey Ron,

I know this has been discussed (and shot down) before, but since it's reared its head again I'll mention it again (out of sight out of mind and all that).

The Forge is a fantastic resourc for gamers to get together and discuss games in development, ongoing campaigns, indie games in general, etc. However, roleplaying (as you yourself like to point out on occasion) is a social activity and I would certainly like to think that I have made good friends at my time here on The Forge.

All of us being such good friends, I kind of wish there was a place where we were allowed to discuss things not necessarily strongly gaming related, such as Blakes post, without being "told off" for it.

So, once again I am going to renew the call for an "off topic" forum where the rules are relaxed somwhat. After all, look how successful the Forge Birthday forum was for the 4 days of its existence. Yes, you could argue (and probably will) that there are other chatrooms and personal email and PM etc for that kind of thing, but it's not as "community building" if it has to be done at another venue, it wouldn't feel like it was still, at the core, a group of Forgeites.

Just my 2c, my friend.

Brian Leybourne

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion

Thomas Tamblyn

I agree - one of the problems I think the forge has, is that people aren't always sure where to post what.  A general communoity forum solves this by providing an "if in doubt" forum.  

Of course discussion in the community forum would still have to be strongly gaming-related (unlike's tangency, or even the birthday forum), but I think a forum where people can just throw out ideas or opine about games would be a good idea, whilst leaving the Creation and Theory forums free for the focussed posts.

Clinton R. Nixon

I'm a hard sell on this one. Brian actually did the best job yet convincing me (and I'm only the minor monster; wait 'till you have to fight the dread level 10 Ron), and it still doesn't sound like a great idea to me.

Thomas mentioned, "I think a forum where people can just throw out ideas or opine about games would be a good idea." I think that sort of behavior is exactly why you don't see a lot of good discussion in Indie Game Design any more. When it became the place for everyone to say, "Hey, I had an idea for a game last night, and I haven't put any thought into it, but here's the paragraph and a half that I wrote up," a lot of the good discussion, about game design no less, moved to RPG Theory.

I'm not saying a community forum will never, ever happen (although I am saying it's unlikely.) As always, the "if in doubt" problem is easily solved - e-mail someone, or send them a private message. While we are a tight-knit community, which is one of my favorite things about this place, we're a working community, not a lifestyle community.
Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games


Ron once commented on Game Design Journals, pointing out that every word written in a journal, is a word not being written for the game itself.

My feelings on a community forum are somewhat similiar.  Every word spent in casual conversation is a word not be written on an actual game design or advancing our understanding of the hobby.

I'm not against the idea of a Community Forum per se, but I'm not sure...short of a draconian handed moderator, how to keep it from becoming a "chat room".  If there ever were to be such a forum, I think it would need a moderator (who wasn't the already overworked Ron or Clinton) who was willing to put the kybosh on anything that strays even remotely into Tangency territory (after all there's already a perfectly good forum for that elsewhere).

What makes it especially hard is the introduction of new members into the Forge Community.  I think the presence of a community forum would actually make that more difficult.  One of the hardest adjustments to make to "life on the Forge" is that these aren't typical chat forums where people socialize and say whatever is on their mind.  Currently, new members are "broken in" to that in a manner similiar to learning to swim by being thrown in the deep end.  With a Community Forum, where the standards of on topic posting are relaxed, even a little bit I think that transition would become *harder* because it would be easier to bring into the Forge, habits developed elsewhere.


Just writing to back up Brian. I almost posted to that thread myself, but decided to let it cool off a day or two first.

Edit: To elaborate a bit, mostly aimed at Ralph. The Forge does not, and never will, need a "Social Forum." It does not need a chat room. It does not need a Tangency forum.

Incidentally, Clinton is wrong in his statement that socializing can be done through private chat and email. Such socialization is a group activity, and requires a group forum. Witness what went on in the Forge Birthday forum. You can't have that in private exchanges.

This is not a problem, however. Group socialization is not a requirement for the discussion of RPGs. The Forge has need of a place for discussion of gaming things that do not fit into the existing forums.

Ron said that the fact that Blake had trouble finding a place for his post should have clued him in. No. The fact that Blake had trouble finding a place for his post should clue Ron in that we have a lack. The fact that the issue keeps coming up should also do so.

As a side note, I don't think people come to the Forge to socialize. I think that the people who are asking for a "social forum" aren't really asking for a frighteningly chatty forum like Tangency or a yahoo-group style chat club.

Thomas Tamblyn

QuoteI think that sort of behavior is exactly why you don't see a lot of good discussion in Indie Game Design any more. When it became the place for everyone to say, "Hey, I had an idea for a game last night, and I haven't put any thought into it, but here's the paragraph and a half that I wrote up," a lot of the good discussion, about game design no less, moved to RPG Theory.

I'd say that's a point FOR a community forum.  If there's somewhere designed for casual probably-not-going-anywhere ideas for a campaign or a game then there will be less clutter in the indie-rpg design forum because it will be going in the forum designed for it.

Surely the problem isn't people talking out their ideas, but that its in the wrong place?

I see this hypothetic forum as lying somewhere between the rpg creation and actual play forums.  You post there if you want to discuss an existing game that you aren't actually playing, or some ideas that, whilst not immediatly going somewhere that they feel could be useful to somebody else.

Fabrice G.


I'm not a heavy poster here, but I spent a lot of time browsing the board.

IMHO, the problem that reside with a off-topic forum is that it would  be directly against the proclamed goal of the Forge : to promote and help small press rpgs.

See, nothing gets accomplished along those goals with such a forum.

Maybe someone could create another board, linked to this one, specially designed to allow social exchange between forgites ?
Actually, I would really be interested in posting more off topic, and exchanging tidbits with other members of these fora, but not on this particular board. The only net result would be, again IMO, an increase in noise and a loss in quality of the discussion.
For ex, look on how little was posted elswhere during the forge birthday.

Again, I'm all with you about wanting to "exchange" more, but not on the Forge  proper.

Take care,



The Forge Birthday Forum was a lot of fun.

Not a whole lot else went on at the Forge while it was an open forum, though...

My very own">game design journal.

M. J. Young

At the risk of being branded for heresy, let me observe that there already exist forums elsewhere for the sort of gamer interaction that is desired.

Nearly everything that happens here, plus everything that people seem to be seeking that is not here, used to be over at Gaming Outpost. There were reasons why Gaming Outpost was felt to be inadequate particularly for game design--some were problems with the server, some were matters of focus (GO provides forums for a lot of major games and fewer indie games, with only one game design forum), some were personality conflicts.

But I know quite a few people who are on these boards who still pop into Gaming Outpost forums once in a while; and Gaming Outpost does have a forum that is specifically off-topic; and it is a lot looser on what people can post where.

Aaron and Jacob are nearing completion of an improvement to the system and the restoration of the stored thread database. I don't know whether they can rebuild that site (certainly it will never be what it was to game design, as much of what it was in that area has been replaced by this site), but at least it's a casual place where people can chat about such things.

I'm there every day. It's not lonely--there are several people there every day, and more who drop by periodically. Ed Healy was just telling me he still lurks those boards when he has time.

So if you're looking for a place to talk about such things in a less focused and less rarified atmosphere, where you can ask stuff like "what do people play" and "has anyone tried this game" and that kind of thing, is still there, and the forums are all free.

So stop nagging Ron and Clinton to create what already exists within reach.

--M. J. Young

Jason Lee

Just to cast against a social forum (though not necessarily against a general gaming forum).  I think the impersonal nature of the Forge is a good thing.  Personal bias about other posters obviously creeps into the discussion sometimes, but I think a social forum would exacerbate the problem severely.
- Cruciel

Jonathan Walton

Quote from: szilardThe Forge Birthday Forum was a lot of fun.  Not a whole lot else went on at the Forge while it was an open forum, though...


I think it should be something that, if it happens at all, needs to happen only on special occasions.  Otherwise, it's liable to drown out the game design stuff and make the Forge seem more like an elitist club of a few designers who know each other well and are constantly chatting away about insular issues (not that we resemble that in any way, no sir...) ;)


Erk. Wire-crossing is going on here . . . people are talking about two different things.

I don't believe anyone wants a purely off topic socializing forum a la Tangency. If you do want a completely off topic social forum, another thread should be started to discuss it. I don't think it needs to happen. I'm pretty sure it never will.

What I want is a place to have ON TOPIC discussions material that isn't explicitly covered by the existing forums, like:

For example, links to game design articles posted by designers in the field (Greg Costikyan, for example). Links to other gaming discussions that you'd like Forge-ite input on. General interest questions about game design that don't necessarily focus on a specific game like: Where do you get your ideas? What font should I use? How does a game designer defeat writer's block? What common typos should you avoid from other indie-game texts?

If people continue to post and read at the Forge, they *will* have similar issues that they want to discuss as a group. Having a snap moderator crackdown on every thread that doesn't fit into the existing forums is a Very Bad Thing (TM). It not only makes Ron look like a tyrant (which he is not!), but it makes the poster with a perfectly reasonable motive look stupid in an "Idiot! You should know better!" sort of way. It's insulting, even if it's not intended as such.

I'm not saying we need a Forge birthday forum year round, or a place to post IRAQI WAR threads. Help! I'm saying we need more room than we have to post about issues at the hands of gamers.

Obviously, I'm only one opinion among many, but there seem to be enough like-minded posters to bear my saying it again.

Le Joueur

Hey Pags,

Don't we already have these:
Quote from: PaganiniFor example:[list=a][*]Links to game design articles posted by designers in the field (Greg Costikyan, for example)
[*]Links to other gaming discussions that you'd like Forge-ite input on
[*]Where do you get your ideas?
[*]What font should I use?
[*]How does a game designer defeat writer's block?
[*]What common typos should you avoid from other indie-game texts?[/list:o]
[list=a][*]Depends on the topic: an article on design, publishing, or gamers would go is design, publishing, or theory.
[*]The same, if we're not talking about "Forge-ite input" (wouldn't that be Forger?) on off topics.
[*]Sounds like theory or publishing for 'how it works' or 'where would it sell' topics respectively.

[*]I think Ron eventually covered how this can be relevant (and where it goes).
[*]Publishing.[/list:o]So I remain unconvinced that even the forum you're requesting is needed.  Honestly, short of purely social issues, this thread sounds more like people who either aren't forming ideas concretely enough to post them otherwise or simply 'I don't know what each forum is really for.'  I only gave it a minutes thought and found places for each of these examples that all seem good fits.

Okay, for the sake of clarity, let's get past the 'I think there might be a need for another forum.'  Let me throw down the guantlet; someone please post a portion of a post they don't think belongs in any forums.  C'mon, let's have the real thing (not the whole bit, just a start of one; enough to discuss 'where does this go').  I really think the problem here is that people are too afraid now to stretch the intentions of the threads in any way and are looking for a 'I don't know where to post this' forum.  Prove me wrong; show me a real posting that doesn't belong in an actual forum, but does actually belong on the Forge.  (I'm tired of 'I might want to post something that doesn't belong in a forum' vague debate; I need concrete examples.)

Sorry for being so irritable tonight, but I think it needed to be said somehow.

Fang Langford
Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!

M. J. Young

Fang--This whole idea was initiated by someone posting the question of how to deal with writers block on one forum, and being told not that it was the wrong forum but that there was no right forum for that topic.

That's your example.

Now, maybe that's been resolved to, "Yes, maybe there is a forum for that" (although I can't recall what forum that would be); but it still stands as evidence that such topics will arise periodically.

I'm fine with the idea that there are some topics of interest to indie game designers that don't have a place here. After all, this isn't the "Independent Game Designer Coffeehouse and Kibbutz", it's
The Internet Home for Independent Role-Playing Games
as the sign says--the place to design and discover games, not to meet and chat with designers. As far as I'm concerned, The Forge has defined itself, and chooses not to stretch that definition too far; so Forgites (which seems the best spelling for the accepted designation) who want to kibbutz should find a place elsewhere to do so.

I don't think (I could be wrong) that Ron and Clinton established this site for the specific purpose of replacing Gaming Outpost or RPGnet. I believe they built these forums for the specific purpose of focusing on independent game design and publishing in a way which those sites were unable or unwilling to support. Those of you who wish to discuss game design issues in a less formal atmosphere are certainly all welcome to come back to Gaming Outpost and chat there. I promise to read every thread on the major forums, and I know that there are a few people there (Time, Tadeusz, and others) who also read those forums and respond. Sure, it's gotten quiet over there--but if some of you came back and posted your somewhat less focused or slightly off-topic game thoughts there, it would get noisy again pretty quickly.

And the signal-to-noise ratio at GO was never terrible, even in the high-volume days. Not so good, perhaps, as here, but good enough that people commented on it then.

--M. J. Young


Hey Fang,

I chose my examples very specifically. They aren't hypothetical. The examples are either exactly what you call for - real posts, made by real people, that were really moderated - or have been mentioned by posters who didn't feel comfortable posting them because they weren't sure where to put them.