No abstract discussion?

Started by Bez Bezson, April 11, 2011, 01:50:19 PM

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Bez Bezson


I've been reading through some of the posts, and I've been slightly confused as to a couple of things.

From what I can tell, if it's about a specific game (or aspects of it's mechanics) you can discuss it in 'Game Develpoment', so long as you post to an external doc with the relevant rules.
Now, I can see that being a good idea where discussing entire systems, but I've seen threads where all the relevant rules were in the first post, and it wasn't a particularly long post, yet they were told to link to an external document containing the info that had already been provided (which seemed a bit redundant to me)

If it's not about a specific system, my understanding is that it's okay in 'Actual Play', even if the purpose of the thread is to discus an aspect of game design in the abstract, rather than a specific implementation, and anything from a session of play is just to illustrate this.
Don't get me wrong, I think examples help such discussions, it's just I associate conversations about design with 'Game Development' more than 'Actual Play' (which makes me think of reports from sessions of play).

So firstly, have I got that right? (I figure it's best to ask now, rather than make you have to mod my posts later)
Secondly, is there any chance you could elaborate on why you've made those choices in forum rules?

Many thanks,

Ron Edwards


I appreciate the question. I think you haven't quite spotted the distinction between the two forums.

Game Development is for discussing games that are being designed. The external-document requirement is secondary to that.

Whereas Actual Play is for discussing (play of) games that have been published. The actual-play-account requirement is secondary to that.

They are not intended to be conceptually exclusive in every imaginable way, only in the ways I described above. That is why you should discuss playtesting experiences about a game in design in Game Development, not in Actual Play, even though you're talking about playing something.

The reason for the Game Development requirement is that the Forge is no longer aimed at speculative game design, meaning I want to confine the discussion to people who are seriously embarked on a design project. If they can't be bothered to have some document available, then I and others can't be bothered to pay them any mind. I recognize that they will vary greatly in completeness and sophistication, so it's not as if I'm insisting on some degree of completion besides the willingness to write stuff down. It's also a very good assignment for a person who's working on some good ideas but hasn't put such a thing together yet; in other words, by meeting the demand (if you haven't already), a person is already being helped.

The reason for the Actual Play requirement is that existing RPG terminology is a vague mess. When someone wants to talk about some feature of play which is important to them, and calls it "immersion," for instance, eighty other people will jump into the conversation enthusiastically, with eighty other operating assumptions about that term and therefore about what the first guy means. Chaos ensues. Grounding such a discussion in what that one person means, or wants to talk about, is incredibly useful to keep discussions coherent.

Regarding your thread title, the answer is "no," or rather, "abstract is OK."  Discussions of abstract topics are perfectly welcome. Merely meet the requirement for either forum and you're all set. What that means for Actual Play is that you would use an account of play to permit the readers to understand what you're talking about, that's all. It does not mean that the post and the discussion have to be solely about that account.

Best, Ron

P.S. As far as I can tell, most, perhaps all off-site claims regarding what the requirements for the Forge forums are and why they're there are outstandingly stupid. If you or anyone reading this gained your impressions elsewhere, I recommend abandoning them.

Bez Bezson

Cool, thanks for the explanation -it makes a lot more sense now I know it's work-in-progress vs published.

It's not that I thought your rules were stupid, it's just that I'm more used to boards that are a little more informal/unstructured.

I'm mostly here since I'm starting to work on some systems/settings of my own (with the eventual goal of self-publication), so talking about a specific system shouldn't be a problem. I just need to work out which one to focus on first.

Many thanks.