Hi Ron Edwards, please ban me

Started by Vladius, October 02, 2010, 11:25:21 PM

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I have too much brain damage from playing mainsteam games.


By policy, the Forge doesn't ban people.

site admin

Ar Kayon

To prevent wars of attrition with trolls who switch IPs? 

Ron Edwards


As I see it, the whole internet-forum banning thing simply becomes a game and status issue of its own. People get all excited about being banned, or how often, and compete with one another, or use it as a way to boost their ever-hungry egos about how misunderstood and rejected they are. My take is merely that I want no part of something that's silly from the get-go.

So the answer is that although what you're describing is true as far as it goes, my decision about banning here isn't a tactic in that game, but a way for the game not to get off the ground.

Best, Ron

Ar Kayon

Your insight leads me to believe you were once one of us (trolls - but I don't make a habit of shitting where I eat!) or you've taken the time to study the internet paradigm of anonymity, or perhaps years of experience moderating forums has lead you to that conclusion.  It's one of the few problems in life that you can actually make go away by ignoring it.

I've got to admit that I've actually been tempted to troll this site with a sock puppet account, mostly because I cannot stand the manner in which I am forced to speak to my audience:
Prima - So you roll 2d10 for this rule...
Secunda - Well, what does it *mean* to roll 2d10? 
Prima - lol wut?
Secunda - Your method is incompatible with narrativist design, which is the only true way to roleplay, therefore you are wrong.  (For all you aspergers out there, I'm clearly exaggerating for comic effect, but you get the idea...uh, I think)

So yeah, I'm playing my finger-violin for Vladius.

Jim D.

Ron, I'm going to try to provide my take on Chris's points; if it would be better served in another or split thread, or simply zapped, please let me know.  Thanks!

I was on the receiving end of a reply from Simon C. which related to the system of task resolution I was using for my pet WIP.  At first it seemed to be a scathing reply, essentially espousing that conflict resolution works better than task resolution, and that GM-defined target numbers for rolls was a failure
on principle. 

QuoteYour comment about Conflict Resolution is revealing. Your game already has an implicit conflict resolution system. The system is "The GM decides". That's fine, but you may find it improves the experience of running and playing the game to provide guidelines to the GM for making those decisions.

I stared and got irate, and was about to type a vitriolic defense of my methods when it clicked:  Simon wasn't trying to attack me!  I had reasoning and it was sound, but it was critical to explain it to my target audience (ostensibly, the readers of my rulebook).  Consider how conflict resolution works.  Consider how your resolution rules are structured, how they make sense in your mind, and make damn sure you're telling people what conclusions you made to get there, perhaps enforcing them as rules, rather than expecting others to follow the same thought process blindly.

I confess that sometimes I have encountered a sort of thick-headed academic stuffiness, but it's comfortingly rare upon closer inspection of the comments I've received in my admittedly short tenure here.  I have run into a couple of cases (and I won't name names) where a poster could benefit from the application of beginner mind -- that is, approaching the topic of discussion without preconceived notions.  Essentially, that this block of "Forge knowledge" is immutable and inarguable.  These cases are limited.  "Official policy", if you can call it that, seems to be that this really isn't true, and that these concepts (GNS, the Big Model, Conflict vs. Task resolution, et al.) are less pure truths as much as teaching tools, guidance on different ways to think about a problem rather than the be-all and end-all classifications that they appear to be at first glance.  I gain the most satisfaction from reading or participating in a discussion topic here if I don't just take home an answer to a question but rather something to chew on, a direction in which to think and make my own conclusions.


I find the rationality of this thread encouraging. 

Ron Edwards

Hi everyone,

Here are some specific responses.

1. Chris (Ar Kayon, is that your name? Apologies for getting confused, and it also so happens that there are really a lot of Chrises here ...), ... gah, where was I.

OK, starting on a new line because I ellipsed myself into a corner. I don't have any history of trolling; what you're seeing is a combination of your second two suggestions. There's probably something psychological involved too, but whether it has a clinical name and whether I have a diagnosable case, I don't know.

Regarding the kind of dialogue which frustrates you, see my answer to Jim, up next.

2. Jim, I appreciate your comments. I agree fully with your observation that "beginner mind" should be valued more here and treated with respect. My call is, we're talking about someone who's worked most painfully through joining and understanding the issues discussed here. So the behavior in question is much like that of the older college student speaking down to new entrants (I am not drawing a direct analogy between universities and the Forge in every detail; I'm talking only about that particular behavior). And you're right - it's not all that common, but the target of it tends to get overwhelmed and to feel like everyone is backing up this one person against him or her, that this place is like that. (Simon, if you think I'm disrespecting you, say so, but I also think you should take a deep breath if you have to, and consider what Jim is saying.)

I ask that you do not hold back when talking about these issues. This is the right forum for it - name names and provide links. Say, "This is the post I got, this is the interaction, this is what it feels like, and please consider not doing this." I'm the content moderator, which includes courtesy, and especially intellectual courtesy. I will look at what you're talking about, judge it, and act accordingly.

Alternately ... and this is for everyone, seriously ...

Hit the fucking report post button! Write in the little comment, "hey, I am getting hammered and I don't appreciate it." You will not believe the ton of bricks I will drop on the guy you're talking to. I do not care if he has 9000 posts and talks like he owns the joint. He doesn't fucking own it; I do, and my first rule is, someone who's been here a while knows full well how to act.

The deal is, I do not have time to monitor First Thoughts. And it's becoming clear that a number of people are beginning to think it's their role to wax eloquent and act all knowing-like, and unfortunately, they serve as models for one another. I think this needs stopping in a big way.

But I can't do it unless you report it. If I think you're being whiny, then I'll say so, or we can at least work out a way to split the difference. But I bet that the majority of the time, I'll agree that you're getting the shaft.

3. BunniRabbi, this is a rational place. I invite you to head for the Actual Play forum and write about some of your role-playing experiences. It'll go a long way toward seeing what the Forge can do.

Best, Ron

Jim D.

Ron, just so we're on the same page, Simon's critique was direct and to the point, if brusque.  I think the fact that he did not treat my ideas with kid gloves got me to think, hard, about what I was doing, and it was most valuable.  I spent some time trying to get my feelings hurt before I processed that we were engaging in a hard, logical debate -- you know, the exact thing I'm here for.  He was attacking my ideas at their weak points, not me.

Granularity in Ad-Hoc Bonuses: Why +2 is better than +1

Ron Edwards

That's great. I appreciate that you worked through the initial reaction.

But too many people do not. They feel not only marginalized by the person in the thread, but by the site. It used to be that every single person posting here knew that my first allegiance as moderator was to the newcomer. I don't think that knowledge has been the case for about four years. I'm trying to make that as clear as possible now.

Best, Ron

Frank Tarcikowski

On feeling marginalized, that's something most people went through when they arrive at the Forge and seriously tried to contribute something. I sure did. I even posted about it to the Forge Birthday Forum five years ago: Big Forge, Small Me. It's kind of an aside, but my best advice to people new to the Forge would be to forget about First Thoughts and go to Actual Play.

I liked how Actual Play used to be the forum at the top. I'm not a big fan of First Thoughts and I understand it's not quite working as intended. So, Ron, if you (undestandably) don't have the time to monitor it, I guess it's going to keep not quite working as intended, despite everyone's best intentions. Just saying.

- Frank
BARBAREN! - The Ultimate Macho Role Playing Game - finally available in English

Ar Kayon

When does any forum work as intended?

First Thoughts is a great place for continuous feedback on your designs.  However, I believe the root problem stems from inherently discourteous language, whether or not the member is aware he is speaking in such a tone.  New members can be quite sensitive to this.  For example, when the established member makes a critique of the new member's designs, he may speak matter-of-factly ('your design does not", "your design is...") where it is nearly impossible to do so; design is predominantly a matter of taste.  This language can convey the message that the OP is wrong, which can inflame a discussion.

Therefore, the person conducting the critique has the responsibility to be objective, more so than the OP.  To illustrate, instead of using language such as "this is...", it is better to say, "in my opinion, this is...".  This minute difference conveys the message that the critique comes from an individual viewpoint, which may or may not be accurate.

Ron Edwards

We've been over this and over this. I've heard it all. 

The problem is that in the last three years, I have simply had zero time to devote to attending to comportment in First Thoughts, or even to make it as clear as possible to people arriving at the Forge just what the place is. Yeah, it hasn't been great in just the ways you describe. One of the biggest problems is that people can fall into a trap of fake-ass courtesy or fake-ass clarity, even when their intentions are excellent. Yeah, their posts can often be fairly perceived as pompous, condescending, and lacking in the sort of charity that anyone should get in the opening phases of conversation. But it hasn't been moderated by me enough to stop it.

Consider this as well, please. It's equally true that many newcomers are addled and scarred and entrained by the abominable stupidity that characterizes discussions and pretends to be courteous nearly everywhere else on the internet. To such a person, you could say "Let me see, your game is about dwarves," and spark an aggrieved rant that begins with "Sirrah" and ends with "Go ahead and ban me." Less extremely, I am fascinated by the frequency that people who like to be taken seriously as power-minds in a social scene and take pride in being the expert gamer, get pissed off or annoyed at being condescended to or find hidden meanings that demand defensive rebuttal ... and then, a while later, post something like, "Wait a minute, if I simply take what you're posting at face value, that makes a lot of sense!" These posters are extremely high-maintenance on the rest of us until they figure it out.

All of which is now moot. The newcomer's arrival at the Forge during the winter stage (or phase or whatever the fuck it is) is going to be different. And I intend to moderate with fire, sword, and mandrake root, as well as lead by example in terms of courteous, genuine, and obvious engagement, like I used to.

Best, Ron

Ar Kayon

Don't take this as bitching, as I do just fine handling all sorts of responses.  I am merely making an observation for others' sake.  And as forums go, this is the second-best in terms of maintaining discussion.  The very best was a Taoism forum I used to take part of.  Absolutely zero moderation, but we were the sorts of such a peculiar mindset that evading the slings and arrows of uncontrolled discussion was particularly easy (if we don't take ourselves seriously, it logically follows that neither do we our interactions).  If we didn't wanna get peed on, we'd just move out tha way. 

Now, your condensation of the development phases makes a great deal of sense.  The abolition of initial musings sounds good too, as I've been reading a lot of things here that I know are never intended to be developed, but are rather thought experiments that get caught up in abstract theory.  My only concern is what tools will be at the disposal of members' projects during the earliest stages.

Ron Edwards

Thank you for your points. Let's take this discussion into the Winter thread, as this thread has lurched into unnecessary unlife enough times already.

I also ask that you not post for others' sake. Whoever they are, they are free to speak for themselves.

Best, Ron