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Old 02-09-2011, 01:47 PM   #161
Mnemosyne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
Currently, gamers in Gondor can start their own games without prior approval of any Mod, even the Gondor mod. It is only in Rohan and The Shire where games must be approved. So this proposal, instead of creating more ownership and responsibility for gamers, would in fact increase the control of Mods and place an absolute restriction on posting rights which no other forum here has.
However, effectively, this is the situation that's already in place, since Gondor's been a mathom-house for years. You're right about the "posting rights" restriction, though--although I should add that the private Translations from the Elvish forum, while it was active, was much more restricted.

Quote:
Frankly, I think there's a place for Downers who have played in many games, have successfully run games, and have participated on the Forum demonstrating respect for the policies, not to have to seek approval if they want to start a game. We don't have to seek approval to start a thread in Books or N&N or Mirth. Are WW games "approved" by the WW Mod?
The way I see it, there are two ways we can go about this, if we must have rules: regulating games through control of players (who's allowed to play at what level), and regulating games through control of games. And no, WW games aren't approved, but there's a queue mechanism in place that's existed as long as the game has, and when someone unreliable started up a game but then didn't do anything with it (IIRC) the group had to step in and make lots of rules.

I don't think that modship needs to take the appearance that it has in its most recent incarnation, but I still think it's good for there to be a point of access before games start, even if it's just, "Hey, I'm thinking of running this game, sound good?"

Quote:
If there's a problem with a thread, a Mod can always close it, temporarily or permanently. That's what's done in Books, etc. Why can't that apply to games?

When people look at a member's profile, they can ask to see recent threads and recents posts. I tried to find an early game I started, Picnic at the Bonfire Glade, but it's not down under my profile as a thread I started, because the RPG Moderator, Mithadan at the time, "opened" it. That happens for every game in The Shire; none of them are "recognised" as being the thread of the people who actually write them. (That wasn't the case in Rohan, where gamers could start their own threads once the game was approved.) So if you like someone's game and want to read other games the Downer has started, it becomes an onerous task to try to track them down.

Does this state of affairs really need to continue? (I grant it was a solution to a problem back in the day.)
You've got a point here with the mod just closing threads. I'd still rather there be some sort of advisory capacity, though, and I don't know why.

But definitely, I don't think the mod needs to start game threads anymore.



I should add that before I joined here, I lurked, and I did use some of the finished games as fan fiction reading. I think that's why I'm more concerned with making sure that RPs are structured in the sense of, yes, they have a story to tell, and that story has a concrete beginning and ending. The Inns are fine for less concrete stuff, but really, Durelin, is it okay to have long-term stories that are more or less free-form, that players can hop into and out of? It's just a concept that's alien to me, probably because I got acquainted with RPs as a reader, and I write fan fiction, and I'm a big continuity geek. That's why I'm so much more interested in lots of short-term, intense games that can have some character overlap, because they allow for new people to get involved more easily without necessarily sacrificing the clarity of what it is we're doing.

I have to run, but I guess the question is if my reservations about an open world system are just me. And even if it isn't just me, is this something about RP culture that we can and should change?
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Old 02-09-2011, 01:57 PM   #162
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Question

Can someone please clarify a word for me?

How do you mean "mod" when you use that term? Are you referring to my job right now as the overall RPG forum moderator -- or do you mostly mean "mod" as it seems to be used in WW as the game initiator/facilitator.

Thanks!

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Old 02-09-2011, 02:05 PM   #163
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry View Post
Currently, gamers in Gondor can start their own games without prior approval of any Mod, even the Gondor mod. It is only in Rohan and The Shire where games must be approved. So this proposal, instead of creating more ownership and responsibility for gamers, would in fact increase the control of Mods and place an absolute restriction on posting rights which no other forum here has.
You make a fair point--and I'd not personally have a problem turning my so-called "Rivendell" forum into one where games can be opened without mod approval. However, it's worth noting that I said anyone could start a game in my hypothetical "Rivendell" forum (and the same state of affairs would exist in its "Doriath" counterpart). This is different from the Gondor we currently have, because only those promoted to Gondor can start games there--so there's absolute freedom, under the current model, for a handful of players in Gondor (and it's quite a small hand), while the proposed model would have quite a bit of freedom.

I should probably clarify that when I say "subject to Mod approval" I really just mean running it by the Mod as a formality. One would have to have a rather inappropriate topic indeed to find it vetoed. In this schema, the Mod approval would not extent to the Mod starting all the threads, as is currently the case--merely saying "sure, no problem" by PM to the game creator. Since the Mod(s) has powers to delete and move threads, this need not even be by PM, as the Mod could remove offending threads with the click of a button. The advantage to PMing the Mod first is that you know this won't happen (and thus suffer no embarassment), but it's safe to say that pretty much any active RPer on the Downs could probably start a "safe" thread under this system and not have to worry about that.

Of course, I might simply be projecting too much of my own mental picture of said Mod onto this theoretical Mod, and that a real human being in said position might be in a trickier position than I imagine (though... having said that, I really don't think so... but I'm cocky that way).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bęthberry
Frankly, I think there's a place for Downers who have played in many games, have successfully run games, and have participated on the Forum demonstrating respect for the policies, not to have to seek approval if they want to start a game. We don't have to seek approval to start a thread in Books or N&N or Mirth. Are WW games "approved" by the WW Mod?

If there's a problem with a thread, a Mod can always close it, temporarily or permanently. That's what's done in Books, etc. Why can't that apply to games?
So... either I missed this second half in my first read, or it got converted directly into my thoughts, because I feel like we have much the same position on the amount of action the Mods would be taking... just perhaps a slight difference of opinion on how rules about it would be articulated.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:30 PM   #164
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I'm just ducking in here really quickly, but I'd like to say I like Formy's idea a lot.

Another idea I'd just like to throw out there - it just occurred to me and I haven't really thought it through, but what if we also created a place (forum? subforum? or maybe a new place isn't really necessary) where people could just toss around ideas with each other? In my mind this serves a similar purpose to the discussion/administrative thread in werewolf where people throw around ideas for new special rules or whatnot. For example, say I'm thinking about starting an RPG but don't really have any concrete ideas... I could start a thread saying something like, "I'd like to write about x, is anyone else also interested and would you like to help come up with a plot idea?" I'm not suggesting totally getting rid of the game owner model, but this could run along side it as a more collaborative sort of thing... although maybe this is almost exactly what planning threads do now. Just a rambling thought - I have to run now.
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Old 02-09-2011, 02:56 PM   #165
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I'm off to work, but very quickly I'll suggest that opening up the Shire (or another forum of whatever you want to call it), for free writing without this control or that control may bring in some new people, creativity, and such. There would be general forum RP rules and guidelines that are common sense ones (using other 's characters, no one or two liner posts, etc.) but the actual tale/"game" would be up to the creator to open up or restrict. Apparently this "Wild West" style is adamantly rejected here. But It's my thought on the matter. I have to deal with too much micro and pico-management at work to want to deal with it on my own leisure time writing.
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:19 PM   #166
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mnemo
I think that's why I'm more concerned with making sure that RPs are structured in the sense of, yes, they have a story to tell, and that story has a concrete beginning and ending. The Inns are fine for less concrete stuff, but really, Durelin, is it okay to have long-term stories that are more or less free-form, that players can hop into and out of? It's just a concept that's alien to me, probably because I got acquainted with RPs as a reader, and I write fan fiction, and I'm a big continuity geek.
You're asking me if it's okay, but you haven't pointed out anything wrong with it. Even if you look at it purely from a story-writing perspective, which RPing is NOT purely (everyone looks at it differently; to some it is story writing, to some it is more like a game, to some it is more like 'acting' in writing so to speak, etc)...a story doesn't begin with all of its characters necessarily. Many characters are introduced later. Some show up for a brief time. If you insist on extreme organization and as you've mentioned, perfect continuity, you can enforce that in a game/story/thread you initiate. But why not let others start threads/stories/games that do not enforce that?

I'm basically with a lot of what Bethberry has said. And Mithalwen as well. Let's leave it up to people to start games/threads and determine THEIR parameters for that game/thread/story. The moderators would then be working on the front end rather than the back end, as Bethberry has suggested. Rather than having to look over every game proposal before hand, they keep an eye on what's being posted and step in only when necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefoot
it just occurred to me and I haven't really thought it through, but what if we also created a place (forum? subforum? or maybe a new place isn't really necessary) where people could just toss around ideas with each other
I like this idea. That was part of the organization I suggested in my original (freakishly long) post. One Discussion forum and One RP/IC forum -- which is a typical organization on many discussion forums with an RP section.

Piosenniel - When I say 'Mod,' such as in the note at the end of my last post, I mean forum moderator. I've started using words like initiator and other such nonsense to describe what has been known as the 'game owner' (the person who starts the game/thread)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mnemo
The way I see it, there are two ways we can go about this, if we must have rules: regulating games through control of players (who's allowed to play at what level), and regulating games through control of games. And no, WW games aren't approved, but there's a queue mechanism in place that's existed as long as the game has, and when someone unreliable started up a game but then didn't do anything with it (IIRC) the group had to step in and make lots of rules.
The thing is, why do we need to control/regulate necessarily on the back end. Let people post threads, begin games -- just like in WW (the queue idea really doesn't apply to RPs, unless we're going to limit the number of threads/games that can go on at once which seems a little crazy to me). If there's a problem with the game/thread -- as in, it breaks some sort of rule -- then the forum moderators step in as necessary. But they are not required to initiate every RP, every thread, etc.

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Old 02-09-2011, 03:29 PM   #167
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Extremely high standards (but there's nothing bad about high standards, as usually anyone who cares will rise to them - and hopefully above them). So, you've concisely pointed out the expected standards, and reasons for the Gondor forum.
Actually, I was simply riffing off Mark's post, which touched a point I had made earlier when I said that Rohan was a difficult forum to define and I thought her explanation was better than mine. (And I haven't actually said anything about how many forums I think there should be.)

The procedure for getting to Gondor is fairly straight forward. A gamer simply follows the explanations given in The Shire and Rohan. When I was Moderator of Rohan, all one had to do was run a game in Rohan successfully (which largely meant finishing it), having successfully run a game in The Shire (which got you into Rohan). I don't know if this still pertains but I would expect so. (Why Noggie isn't in Gondor, for example, might simply be that he hasn't had time to finish running a game in Rohan--my guess. Or the inclination.) So, the procedure is I think fairly clear. Play in a game in The Shire, run a game in The Shire, run a game in Rohan, your name goes on the list of Gondorian gamers.

In terms of that more elusive definition of the kind of games anticipated in Gondor, there's always the option of reading games that have been played in Gondor and seeing what they are like. Maybe not all of them will fit that definition of canonicity which Mark suggested and I seconded. But reading them will surely give a person a clear idea of the complexity of the games--complexity on many different levels. (And, to be fair, as I recall when the forums were set up, we couldn't decide where to put the game called Rohan, but finally decided it belonged in the forum of its own name, Rohan. ) And as Mark pointed out, a Gondorian game owner can ask any Downer to play in her or his game. In addition to those Mark names, I seem to recall that Diamond18 and Lush wrote for REB, and I don't think they are on the Gondorian list for game owners. I honestly cannot think of one person who, having completed the procedure for gaming in The Shire and Rohan, was denied access to Gondor as game owner. So I don't think it's the description of Gondor which intimidates. It's the failure of gamers in The Shire and Rohan to finish games and ask to be moved on.

Note that neither Mark nor I wrote the description for Gondor.

pio, when I say Mod or Moderator I mean your position, the one I had, Estelyn's, not facilitator or game initiator.

Formy, I really think it would be better to move away from the idea that a game needs to be approved--or nodded at--by a Moderator, because I think the entire atmosphere needs to be changed whereby people take ownership for their rpg-ing. Your "as a formality" is quite different from what I think is the case now with it's character bios and extended plot lines. I mean, right now animal characters are not allowed at the Meadhall. Where does that put the game My Crow Management, which was a Rohan game, where all the characters were crows?

And yes, Mnemosyne, Translations from the Elvish had a restricted list, but that was for very different reasons.

Sorry if I've skipped other points but RL is being very urgent and I have a PM to reply to from pio.
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:31 PM   #168
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I'm getting to like Form's suggestion more and more, especially after his clarifications on it.

But I'd also like to put some flesh on the bones here by way of asking a few questions. So where would you put the following RP's?

1) "I have this idea that a bunch of people should try to get into place X to warn the king about the on-falling war brewing. I have a few obstacles laid out for you guys so let's see can you overcome them?"

2) "I have this idea that we'd collect these bunch of people escaping from enslavement and then let them meet with some fugitives from an oppising race both in as bad condition: then we could see how they would relate to each other if they had a common enemy."

3) "I have this idea we take this group and they go wandering about the forests to see if there is any adventure brewing. Anyone with a god idea about an adventure should cme forwards."

4) "I have this idea of a Mead Hall where anyone could come and go but as not to bore ourselves by just playing only social relations like those morning-soap operas in TV let's invent some plots in there every now and then to liven things up?"

5) "I have this fan-fic story of mine I would like to make you perform. I'l tell you what to do and how to write and then you do the writing under my supreme control. Anticipate me correcting your posts if I don't like them."

6) "I have this idea of a game where this odd bunch (previously unrelated an different characters) would be thrown into a shipwreck being the sole survivors. Let's see then how they would get along with each other and how they would try to get themselves back to the land?"

7) "I have this basic storyline concerning the very first Atani getting over Morgoth's trickery and reaching Yavanna & Oromë. Do you think you're up to the challenge?"


As someone might have noticed, numbers 1-4 are actually near some actual games that have taken place here, and only numbers 5-7 are deliberately invented.


Now using Form's categories, I'd say that game-ideas 1, 5 and 7 should belong to "Doriath" and the others to "Rivendell". Case 2 could be discussed though as the "getting there" woud require some active leading from the part of the gameowner (or whatever the term for the initiator of the game would be), but after it reached the aimed condition it would sound to me more like a Rivendell one.

I don't think the length should be a decisive factor. The one initiating the game should tell others whether s/he's looking forwards to a long one or a short one - and the others could make their decisions to join or not also based on that.

But what I see coming through from these examples loud and clear is that the Doriath games would be much more dependent on the gameowner while the Rivendell ones could be more collectively led.

But that is no way a "writing-quality"-issue! I could see a bunch of creative and involved writers making a great story from 7) even if the gameowner had the basic outline of the story already planned - and I could see big egoes and non-co-operative players ruining story 6).

Also, from the form I deliberately took up there with my examples you can see that I do think we shoud open the ownership of the RP's to anyone. Anyone could suggest a game by opening a thread and if there were enough players interested in it the people interested could play it. And if there was not, then the gme woud not go on.

Okay, I can see a problem lurking here... With a new ruling given there might be a burst of new games offered and there could be something like a beauty or popularity contest involved.

Even if I do also belong to the camp carrying the cards of the "less rules, less regulation" -camp, I do think we should have a few basic rules & requirements. Like that those willing to set up their own game should have played at least in one game before it - so that the others had an idea of the person and her/his reliability as a gameowner etc. (This is something I think the werewolfing community has been wise enough to regulate themselves n that vein after a few bad experiences).

Taking Form's two categories would then leave us to decide on what to do with the Inns. My gut feeling would be the following.

Let's make the Scarburg Mead Hall a Rivendell game with a long history behind it.

The Golden Perch Inn I'm less clear about (I haven't been reading it in a long time so I'm not exactly sure how it goes nowadays). But I do think we should have a "boot camp" of sorts for those willing to familiarise themselves with RPG'ing in the 'Downs - and if it's not the GP, then we'd need to come up with a new one for that purpose (although it should be rewarding enough to the innkeeper and those others of us writing there when there is no imminent flow of new writers rushing in all the time ).
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Old 02-09-2011, 03:53 PM   #169
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Durelin
You're asking me if it's okay, but you haven't pointed out anything wrong with it. Even if you look at it purely from a story-writing perspective, which RPing is NOT purely (everyone looks at it differently; to some it is story writing, to some it is more like a game, to some it is more like 'acting' in writing so to speak, etc)...a story doesn't begin with all of its characters necessarily. Many characters are introduced later. Some show up for a brief time. If you insist on extreme organization and as you've mentioned, perfect continuity, you can enforce that in a game/story/thread you initiate. But why not let others started threads/stories/games that do not enforce that?
Which is why I switched very quickly to "this may be just a problem with me and my perspective." I guess I wouldn't mind seeing people try a game like that out, but it's just so different from anything I've encountered on the 'Downs that I don't know if the culture is there to maintain it. Worth a shot, though, and there's no real reason for me to object to allowing such games.

I love the idea of a subforum just running ideas through, though, and seeing if there's enough interest in a particular concept or style before investing time and effort in creating a game that no one else wants to play. That could easily replace a "mod must approve all games" system, and it'd be more democratic too.
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:10 PM   #170
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The Seventh Star is already a -- excuse the term-- free for all. But few post there. I wish more people would.
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:20 PM   #171
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod View Post
I'm getting to like Form's suggestion more and more, especially after his clarifications on it.

But I'd also like to put some flesh on the bones here by way of asking a few questions. So where would you put the following RP's?
I'm actually going to answer all of these--not because I disagree with your guesses (though I've not looked at them in detail), but because this is a really excellent opportunity to explain the distinction I'm trying to make.

]1) "I have this idea that a bunch of people should try to get into place X to warn the king about the on-falling war brewing. I have a few obstacles laid out for you guys so let's see can you overcome them?"

I would say this is a Doriath game: the motivating idea is the plot, which is driven and known by the game owner, and the "I" in "I have a few obstacles laid out" is crucial.

2) "I have this idea that we'd collect these bunch of people escaping from enslavement and then let them meet with some fugitives from an opposing race both in as bad condition: then we could see how they would relate to each other if they had a common enemy."

This looks like a Rivendell game, because the main interest is in the interplay of characters, and its very open-ended in terms of what things will go. Its description pretty much begs for full player interaction to move the story along--the plot is contingent on characterisation.

3) "I have this idea we take this group and they go wandering about the forests to see if there is any adventure brewing. Anyone with a good idea about an adventure should come forwards."

This could go either way. Probably, if I were a mod, I'd nudge it in the direction of Rivendell, since the person suggesting it clearly doesn't want to run things that strongly. On the other hand, this might just be someone with an idea looking for a co-mod to work with in Doriath.

4) "I have this idea of a Mead Hall where anyone could come and go but as not to bore ourselves by just playing only social relations like those morning-soap operas in TV let's invent some plots in there every now and then to liven things up?"

Hey! I actually know what this one is. I'd call it a grandfather-clause exception to the rules, really--but agree it belongs in Rivendell. The mod is very much a facilitator in Rohan, rather than a game director, and the players are all very much involved in the direction the game take and the ownership of the game.

5) "I have this fan-fic story of mine I would like to make you perform. I'll tell you what to do and how to write and then you do the writing under my supreme control. Anticipate me correcting your posts if I don't like them."

Well, phrased that way, I can't imagine wanting to join (actually, not true... I'd be tempted if Fea or maybe Elempi were running it), but aside from that off-topic reality, it would clearly go in Doriath. Even though this could as easily be about character as plot, the game owner clearly intends to run things. As said, even this could be fun, with the right owner.

6) "I have this idea of a game where this odd bunch (previously unrelated an different characters) would be thrown into a shipwreck being the sole survivors. Let's see then how they would get along with each other and how they would try to get themselves back to the land?"

Strikes me as another Rivendell story, because the "game owner" (for lack of clear, accurate, synonym) is proposing the idea rather than planning to run it. Once again, the emphasis on characterisation is a good shorthand way of telling that this will be a player consensus game rather than a owner-rule game.

7) "I have this basic storyline concerning the very first Atani getting over Morgoth's trickery and reaching Yavanna & Oromë. Do you think you're up to the challenge?"

I'd call this a Doriath game in the absence of any more info, but it would depend. There's a clear, defined plot that, to me, suggests the game owner plans to be in charge of the overall arc, nudging things in the right direction... but this could also be run with as a Rivendell game, where it's put forward as a game premise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod
I don't think the length should be a decisive factor. The one initiating the game should tell others whether s/he's looking forwards to a long one or a short one - and the others could make their decisions to join or not also based on that.
To me, length isn't decisive, but I do think it needs to be considered, particularly in "Doriath" cases. My reasoning is that when a game's creator is going to have a strong guiding hand in his/her game, then the players should have a clear commitment from that creator to be around for a defined period of time. In "Rivendell" this may be less crucial, since the whole game isn't as dependent on a single leader, but I think it's still fair to have an expected timeframe.

In other words, I wouldn't consign short games to Doriath and long ones to Rivendell (or vice versa), but I do think that Doriath games (at least) should have a planned timeframe. These can always be extended, but whether it's two weeks or two years, telling players how long a game is likely to last is an act of commitment on the part of the game owner, and given the responsibility an owner has in Doriath, that seems fair to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod
But what I see coming through from these examples loud and clear is that the Doriath games would be much more dependent on the gameowner while the Rivendell ones could be more collectively led.

But that is no way a "writing-quality"-issue! I could see a bunch of creative and involved writers making a great story from 7) even if the gameowner had the basic outline of the story already planned - and I could see big egoes and non-co-operative players ruining story 6).
Exactly the idea! I have no problem against particular games being invitation-only, either in Doriath or Rivendell, and if the game owner/proposer wants (and can get!) the best of the best writers, it will be a joy to read... but we don't need a separate forum for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nogrod
Also, from the form I deliberately took up there with my examples you can see that I do think we should open the ownership of the RP's to anyone. Anyone could suggest a game by opening a thread and if there were enough players interested in it the people interested could play it. And if there was not, then the game would not go on.
Agreed--and this was an implicit assumption in my proposal.

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Okay, I can see a problem lurking here... With a new ruling given there might be a burst of new games offered and there could be something like a beauty or popularity contest involved.
I... would love to see that. My own bet is that we'll be lucky to have a few ground-breakers to pave the way. As excited as well all are, our numbers aren't dense, and most of us have been around so long (and might be too jaded) that we might not want to go first. Additionally, I think enough of us have played WW that we can see the benefits in "taking turns" to an extent (though we need to be one game at a time, I doubt anyone is up for playing in more than two or so at a given moment).

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Formy, I really think it would be better to move away from the idea that a game needs to be approved--or nodded at--by a Moderator, because I think the entire atmosphere needs to be changed whereby people take ownership for their rpg-ing. Your "as a formality" is quite different from what I think is the case now with it's character bios and extended plot lines. I mean, right now animal characters are not allowed at the Meadhall. Where does that put the game My Crow Management, which was a Rohan game, where all the characters were crows?
Insofar as you're quite right that my "as a formality" is intended to be quite different from the status quo, I have no problem with moving away from the idea that a game needs approval. Personally, I think it is still helpful to run game plans by someone else--and having a mod gives you someone with an "official" standing whose job is to listen to such schemes--but insofar as it was only a formality I had in mind, it's easily dropped. My main thought about it was to safeguard the right of the forum mods to close or veto games, and that it would save people embarrassment if this happened before a thread was started, rather than after. If, however, that still smacks too much of the current regime, I (at least) have no problem with post-thread-starting moderation. As has been said, it does seem to work elsewhere on the Downs with little enough problem...
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:23 PM   #172
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I love the idea of a subforum just running ideas through, though, and seeing if there's enough interest in a particular concept or style before investing time and effort in creating a game that no one else wants to play. That could easily replace a "mod must approve all games" system, and it'd be more democratic too.
As as addendum to my last post: I also heartily approve the idea of an ideas/discussion subforum, and the "democratic"* vetting of ideas it would provide answers in full any lingering concerns I had about bad ideas cropping up.




*I reserve my right, however, to be a Tolkien anarcho-monarchist. :-p
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:24 PM   #173
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I love the idea of a subforum just running ideas through, though, and seeing if there's enough interest in a particular concept or style before investing time and effort in creating a game that no one else wants to play. That could easily replace a "mod must approve all games" system, and it'd be more democratic too.
It might even be just a thread - or two threads (one for Doriath and one for Rivendell - or whatever the names would be)?

I mean here we could use the experiences of the ww-community. There we have the Tol-In-Gaurhoth -thread where people basically keep the queue of who's the next mod, what kind of games people have in mind, what kind of games people crave for, make their general views on the game as such heard etc.

Mutatis mutandis, we could make somewhat similar threads for RPG'ing. People could there offer their ideas for games, probing whether their game ideas would gain interest and players, ask for certain kinds of games, discuss general issues bout the RP's...


On another note: I have been talking about "games" all the time although I do remember I had a real problem with that term in the beginning (now I think I have just grown used to it). I feel the same way as some others here in not thinking an RP is a game but collaboral writing, role-playing, storytelling, having fun together... but not a "game" in a way WW is clearly a game.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:08 PM   #174
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It is some hours sine I started this so prolly superseded..

I don't think we need to get to hung up on many game rules on a forum wide level. I do think the person running it (if there is one) should have a degree of control since they are the one putting in the hard yakka. I think in a way this is more of an issue since gaming is so sparse, it has to be one size fits all. To take something positive from the werewolf games you know the style of game on offer before you sign up and if the current one doesn't suit you there will be another that might shortly. So I know I will never get my head around Duelling wizards but can sometimes be tempted by another concept or a short and sweet classic game.

If a set of expectations have been set up at the beginning of a game then any fundamental changes must be by negotiation and consensus not by fait accompli and the "Its my ball and I'm going home now" type of argument. If you don't want to collaborate then go write fanfic.

That said if their is an individual taking the burden of organisation then the WW Doctrine of the divine right of moderators should apply to them! All this talk of democracy I find rather seditious and dangerous. Before we know it the RPG forum will be an anarcho-syndicalist commune and we will be taking turns to act as a sort of executive officer each week whose decisions have to be ratified at bi-weekly meetings.

Basically there may be games that are like a dinner party - one or two people are organising, providing choosing the menu, setting the table, picking thr playlist etc and games that are like a potluck picnic. And possibly degrees in between.

As for Gondor. I don't have a problem with it but it hasn't really impinged on my life? death? - time on the downs and that is nearly seven years now.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:15 PM   #175
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Lot to think about here.

If, hypothetically (meaning no promises), we move to a system where a member can just start up a game, how do we control quantity and quality.

By quantity, I mean this. One of the big problems with the old freestyle RPG forum was that everyone and their assorted brothers, sisters and first cousins once removed was starting up a game and, of course, there were not enough players to go around and 90% of them failed.

Quality is more obvious. Canonicity, a reasonable level of writing effort, if not skill, etc. A workable premise or story. It strikes me that retaining "veto" power would be more potentially embarrassing and annoying to a game facilitator/owner than some sort of simplified proposal process.

I lived through the trouble. The complaints, the chatspeak, the use of RPGs to socialize rather than roleplay. I have no desire to live through that again. I fully acknowledge that everyone who has been posting here has some degree of longetivity and pedigree on the Downs. But once the door is opened...
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:26 PM   #176
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I don't think the game proposal thing is a negative. It does mean the proposer has to think something through which can only help avoid problems. Especially for novices. A more experienced game proposer is hardly likely to be fazed by the procedure.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:31 PM   #177
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By quantity, I mean this. One of the big problems with the old freestyle RPG forum was that everyone and their assorted brothers, sisters and first cousins once removed was starting up a game and, of course, there were not enough players to go around and 90% of them failed.
This problem, of course, had a lot to do with the massive influx of Downers that came with the Movies. Given the much quieter times we have at the moment, I'm not sure this would be a problem at the present moment--most people involved in RPing have been around long enough that we can give them credit for at least a modicum of sense.

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Originally Posted by Mithadan
Quality is more obvious. Canonicity, a reasonable level of writing effort, if not skill, etc. A workable premise or story. It strikes me that retaining "veto" power would be more potentially embarrassing and annoying to a game facilitator/owner than some sort of simplified proposal process.
Doing away with an intensive Mod-screening doesn't mean that the rules of conduct on the gaming forums need disappear. A Tolkien-valid premise, a reasonable effort at writing, no chat speak (etc) would still be assumed--and, indeed, remain forum-wide rules.

Personally, I think both questions of quality and quantity would be fairly well answered by the common sense of our gamers. I don't think we'd see an overabundance of games, because even if we had scores of game owners wanting to start something... they wouldn't get anywhere if they couldn't find enough recruits. There might be a flurry of threads (or posts on an announcement board -like thread), but the majority would quickly subside, and we'd only be left with those that garnered enough support--and I daresay that we could reasonably expect these to be the best of the pack. The other ideas would either have to be retooled (made better) to attract attention, or be put aside until their were more people involved.
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:38 PM   #178
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I don't think the game proposal thing is a negative. It does mean the proposer has to think something through which can only help avoid problems. Especially for novices. A more experienced game proposer is hardly likely to be fazed by the procedure.
Obviously, I have no problems with a proposal process. Indeed, I never really imagined there would be no proposals. The freedom to start games without Moderatory fiat doesn't mean that the game doesn't have to be pitched. Proposals could just as easily be made on a public discussion thread for that purpose. This would still allow the rookie game owners to benefit from drawing up a proposal, and it would allow them to benefit from the experience and wisdom of their peers, who could (as a jury) be far more effective in "passing judgment" than the Mod (as a judge) could ever be alone.

Really, the game proposals, as used now, are put directly to the Mod (Pio), but they scarcely differ in content from what we would put out there to attract the other players. The only real difference, under the new system, is that the proposal could be put directly to the players.

EDIT: In other words, the chief point of the proposal in the current form, as I understand it, is to make sure the game owner covers all the important bases. Putting the proposal out for feedback and/or to attract players would undoubtedly result in the same bases being covered--though I agree it helps keep everything in one place if a consistent form is used each time (like the rule posts in WW).
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:45 PM   #179
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By player you mean any random person who happened to be passing or people whose opinion have established validity? I'd rather have Pio. Juries are too unpredictacble and can't think of anything worse than having something you have sweated kittens over shang-haied by a self appointed committee of people who won't do anything but criticise. At least a judge may be consistent....
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Old 02-09-2011, 05:49 PM   #180
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At least a judge may be consistent....


What court do you practice in?
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:02 PM   #181
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By player you mean any random person who happened to be passing or people whose opinion have established validity? I'd rather have Pio. Juries are too unpredictacble and can't think of anything worse than having something you have sweated kittens over shang-haied by a self appointed committee of people who won't do anything but criticise. At least a judge may be consistent....
Perhaps the court analogy is more apt than I thought: the jury may render a conviction, but only the judge may pass sentence.

...in this case, the analogy being that the unwashed masses may proclaim your game a dud, but if the Mod doesn't squash it, you're still completely entitled to play it out.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:05 PM   #182
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Oh we all know Pio has the wisdom of Denning.

I did say may and I don't practise anywhere myself, but in my youth trailed at times after my pa who was a Crown Prosecutor ..he tended to know what to expect from the Magistrates good or bad.. I think there were a few "heartsinks". But that is what 25 years in a rural backwater does for you. More predictable than juries - we can't cherry pick them here and you tend to get numpties who haven't the nous to get excused. Other than that my legal experience consists of working for licensing lawyers for a while and spending most of my time seeing if we could tip our boss into physical or mental collapse first.

Now if there is anyone left who I haven't annoyed or offended, please form an orderly queue and I'll get back to you...
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:09 PM   #183
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I think the hope is that the RPG fora would be able to start self-regulating itself more, like Werewolf does. I think that some sort of discussion forum would be really helpful for this (Durelin - I didn't understand that that's what you were getting at ). In this case, I think it would be helpful to have entire forum/subforum rather than just one large thread like werewolf, since it would get confusing if people were trying to talk about more than one idea at once.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:26 PM   #184
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Perhaps the court analogy is more apt than I thought: the jury may render a conviction, but only the judge may pass sentence.

...in this case, the analogy being that the unwashed masses may proclaim your game a dud, but if the Mod doesn't squash it, you're still completely entitled to play it out.
But a proposer isn't actually on trial are they they are trying to do something creative and I think it is rather crueller to have a jury shooting something down in flames in public than have a Forum mod suggein private that a bit more thought or work is necessary. Going for some sort of committee I think could end up with too many chiefs and not enough indians.... like this old tale

I was once in charge of a rowing team and I employed many managers to assess and streamline the strategy.

On our first race we lost by a mile.

On the debrief it was noted that the other team had eight rowers and one cox, where we had one rower and eight coxes.

I then set up a steering committee, sub-steering committee, oversight committee and cost analysis committee.

After one year and thousands of pounds it was concluded that we did not have enough rowers.

However the new managers brought in meant there was no longer any space for rowers and we lost the next race by two miles.

The rower was fired for poor performance, the management team was rewarded for the expert deductions and were paid a bonus from the sale of the oars and boat.


There seems to more interest in organising than doing ...
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:38 PM   #185
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But a proposer isn't actually on trial are they they are trying to do something creative and I think it is rather crueller to have a jury shooting something down in flames in public than have a Forum mod suggein private that a bit more thought or work is necessary. Going for some sort of committee I think could end up with too many chiefs and not enough indians.... like this old tale
Well, the option is always there for a potential game mod to bounce ideas back and forth with the Mod--or with anyone else, for that matter. Removing the requirement that game owners run ideas by the Mod doesn't mean that the Mod's inbox will be closed to people. And, speaking for myself anyway, it's always exciting to get a PM on the Downs (so rare these days...), and to be asked advice about something.

Perhaps the analogy of the court is a bad one, though, if the image of the jury is one that you're shying away from. The idea of a forum to bounce ideas around on was not (if I may say so, not having suggested it originally) intended to be one of judgment and picking things apart, but one of brainstorming and picking people's brains.

It's possible I have a somewhat rosy view of what a brainstorming forum could be, but I'd like to think (on the strength of the sort of discussion that goes on in the Scarburg Planning Thread) that the RPers on the Downs could be constructive and polite in such an environment.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:49 PM   #186
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Maybe but I look at the Scarburg Meadhall discussion thread and feel that it is completely unapproachable and too much for an outsider to get a handle on. All this bouncing around ideas and discussing what you are going to do just takes energy away from actually doing anything, Reminds me too much interminable work meetings where you end up playing that form of bingo that naming would get me modded. I used to have a sign on my desk that said that meetings were the management sanctioned alternative to work. I can't think of anything much more likely to ensure I never RPGed again. Of course that might be a good thing.
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:07 PM   #187
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Maybe but I look at the Scarburg Meadhall discussion thread and feel that it is completely unapproachable and too much for an outsider to get a handle on. All this bouncing around ideas and discussing what you are going to do just takes energy away from actually doing anything, Reminds me too much interminable work meetings where you end up playing that form of bingo that naming would get me modded. I used to have a sign on my desk that said that meetings were the management sanctioned alternative to work. I can't think of anything much more likely to ensure I never RPGed again. Of course that might be a good thing.
I aver that that would not be a good thing. However, I hope it's not looking like someone would *have* to participate in a brainstorming sub-forum, if we had one. There would be nothing stopping you from working up a proposal on your own (as you could now), using a publicly available proposal form (as you could now--I, at least, see no reason to get rid of a useful Sticky, if emended to make it clear that you didn't have to submit it to a Mod for approval). You could still PM it to a Mod (you just wouldn't have to), and you'd still have to find players, either by audition or invitation (which is the case now).

That being said... I can see how there might be a danger of getting a band of people hanging out in the brainstorming room who were always there but never in a game... but I don't think that's a particularly great concern. For one thing, these things tend to police themselves--most people don't comment on the WW planning threads unless they are playing or normally play. Likewise, if I don't intend to play my character "today", I assiduously avoid the Meadhall planning threads (though that may just be me...)

What's more, I think we've got a better chance of sucking people in if we have a sort of "halfway" zone between being deeply ensconced in a game and not involved at all. To rely on personal anecdote again, I tend to get sucked into games two ways: 1. by direct invitation (never happened, the last couple years) or 2. by hanging around too long in a "gaming" atmosphere... and on the Downs the only place I've found for that kind of casual contact has been the Meadhall planning threads, which I faithfully read, but rarely engage out of a fear that I'll look bad for planning all the time and never playing. If we had a brainstorming forum, well... I'd be like I am on this thread: engaging completely with a RP environment and finding myself sucked without knowing it back into a game.

Also, let's just ignore the fact that I've been following this thread all day with more interest and excitement than any of the WW games I've played in the last few years. Anyone with game plans for the "new world order," assuming these discussions come to fruition, bear in mind that I will be ripe for the plucking.

Failing that, I always have that RP proposal I showed Boro last year.
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:13 PM   #188
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My, this thread is moving fast! Almost feels like the old days!

Without having time to follow all the legal jokes here, I would like to clarify my ideas in response to Mithadan's concerns.


Quote:
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Lot to think about here.

If, hypothetically (meaning no promises), we move to a system where a member can just start up a game, how do we control quantity and quality.

By quantity, I mean this. One of the big problems with the old freestyle RPG forum was that everyone and their assorted brothers, sisters and first cousins once removed was starting up a game and, of course, there were not enough players to go around and 90% of them failed.

Quality is more obvious. Canonicity, a reasonable level of writing effort, if not skill, etc. A workable premise or story. It strikes me that retaining "veto" power would be more potentially embarrassing and annoying to a game facilitator/owner than some sort of simplified proposal process.

I lived through the trouble. The complaints, the chatspeak, the use of RPGs to socialize rather than roleplay. I have no desire to live through that again. I fully acknowledge that everyone who has been posting here has some degree of longetivity and pedigree on the Downs. But once the door is opened...
First of all, I also have no desire to return to the Troubles. I don't mean cart blanche or anyone can start a game or anything goes. So let me backtrack a bit to explain my thinking.

First of all, we have difficulty with people posting regularly and/or dropping out of games. I know that pio and Child have worked assiduously to keep games on track, with regular reminders and even joined in games to keep them going. Their effort has been stellar. So we had the rules about keeping to a time line and that didn't ensure that gamers actually followed the rules. They just abandoned the games. And I think that's for more than just real life conflicts.

So I've been wondering what motivates people, what inspires them to maintain a personal stake/interest in something? One answer I came up with was ownership. Where people feel they have a personal say in the situation, a chance to really contribute, they tend to be happier and more productive.

So I was thinking about what would increase the sense of ownership or responsibility? Maybe the idea that they had to be accountable to themselves and to their fellow gamers and game readers rather than to a Moderator, however benevolent.

I was also working with my own boredom in games where all the fun and creativity went into the planning and then the actual writing of posts was just a formality, which became onerous. There was little room for actually plotting the game or developing character once a really far developed "lesson plan" was in place, and no surprises and unexpected challenges which tweaked interest. I kept looking for the "writerly moment", somewhat akin to teacher's "teaching moment". Are gamers actually reading posts and seeing what is expressed and wondering how that influences what is to come? Or are they just seeing a post done and what's next on the list of the plan? And I also think that writing closely to someone else's idea of what the game is/should be can reduce a gamer's input to being simply a hack or ghost writer. That's not fun or creative.

Would this kind of personal input or personal responsibility help gamers stay in a game? Or help gamers create games?

I don't think this necessarily means that anyone can start a game. I think we can still keep guidelines for clear, correct English, Canonicity (of whatever degree), and the expectation that games/play eventually lead somewhere and have a termination. (I know with my life these days, I cannot commit to anything that is completely open-ended and if a game goes past the anticipated time, likely I would have to withdraw.) And I think we can still ask new gamers to play in X-number of games before they start their own. We can also limit the number of games people join to ensure they actually do write for one. I think we can still have forum Moderators who oversee the forums and provide advice. But I think that once someone has proven themselves, why ask them to submit detailed plans and character bios? We only learn about ourselves and who we are in response to the events and actions which life forces upon us, so why should we expect our characters to be written in stone before they see any action?

Of course, that opportunity for freedom hasn't led to games in Gondor, so maybe that isn't all that inspiring. But I think that less emphasis on procedures and on authority (which will still exist, to close/delete/advice/ban etc) might help create an atmosphere where role players are as enthusiastic as the WW gamers. There the gamers can actually participate in creating the outcome of the game, which is not a foregone conclusion.

Sorry, must go prepare a late dinner now for family. I hope this answers at least Mithadan's concern over completely unfettered chaos.

And, pio, thanks for putting Bonfire Glade on the Rohan list. I looked at the Gondor list and don't think I saw "Lonely Star". Did that finish before Gondor? I thought it was a Gondorian game.
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:31 PM   #189
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Old 02-09-2011, 07:54 PM   #190
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While the Lonely Star was wonderful game to play, it just can't be counted in the canon oriented atmosphere of the present RP system . . .
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:13 PM   #191
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Re: Bethberry's Post -- YES.

I was going to just post the above but I of course had to add some rambles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethberry
I think we can still keep guidelines for clear, correct English, Canonicity (of whatever degree), and the expectation that games/play eventually lead somewhere and have a termination.
I agree. And I don't think we should have very high expectations, and shun new players/writers. When I started RPing on here at 13, the atmosphere was a little more open to someone of my limited ability and...such.... But things were daunting beyond the Green Dragon and my first RPs with other players who did not RP in such a monolithic, perfect prose style... And the mods were always nice, ENDLESSLY patient with me, and encouraging... As long as we do not put up walls against the unknown 'new' people, including those who might not meet certain people's 'expectations,' but rather provide a place for them to learn and grow and all that jazz....but yes, I agree that rules are necessary for encouraging a certain style (or level if you want to call it that) of RP.

And yes...when I talk of open RPs that do not have a set out major storyline, plot points, etc., and do not have a *set* end...they still end! People like closure. So once you've made it somewhere you like, you end the RP. And if the players abandon a game/thread before it reaches an end? Of course you just remove the thread.

And just to toss this out there...if you're looking for a 100% success rate (meaning every game/thread started is completed in a reasonable amount of time or whatever)...you're never going to be happy. Games/threads are going to fail. They're going to die. People are going to disappear. You just have to have enough interest and momentum in the RP forum overall that it doesn't matter. That *everything* doesn't start to stagnate. No, I don't really know how you get that. But I agree with Bethberry's suggestions.

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Old 02-09-2011, 08:27 PM   #192
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I agree with Durelin & Bęthberry's last posts. I think it may free up some creativity.

If a fraction of the energy put into this thread the last week or so was put toward RP'ng, it would be an active place indeed.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:35 PM   #193
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Good. So we have a consensus that we are going to have rules. That's good because... we're going to have rules. Some things are non-negotiable.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:50 PM   #194
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... in other words... all this was a waste of time ...
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:00 PM   #195
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I think the point was defending the idea of giving players a lot more free rein. People like to dry a line and say on one side is order and the other is chaos. I can't speak for Bethberry, who had more to her post than this anyway but, I was reiterating that the open forum idea is NOT the 'Wild West' it's so jokingly referred to as.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:14 PM   #196
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Waste of time? Hardly.

Yes there will be rules. Sorry. Snowdog, if you can't commit to at least canonicity, commitment, effort, and a definable tale with an end point (however you do it) I don't understand what you are looking for. Honestly, I looked at the posts above and thought everyone agreed there needed to be SOME rules.

You all are trying to convince me that: (1) we don't need as many rules; and (2) that you can not only create your own games without us looking over your shoulder and that your colleagues will demonstrate commitment, effort and a degree of skill with minimal mod involvement.

I will give you enough rope. You will either hang yourselves or make us proud. But there will be rules. What those rules will be is open to discussion. I have my own ideas, but I'm willing to be convinced.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:26 PM   #197
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I’m not trying to convince you, or anyone else, of anything. Not sure where you got what you say I want either. I don’t “want” anything. I stated my opinion on how a single RP I was involved in transpired. I failed to ever find much creative RP freedom here, but a series of procedural rules, overbearing “game” moderation, etc. Change whatever you want here, or don’t change anything at all. It won’t affect me one way or another. All this wasn’t a waste of time. It helped me realize that I should know better than to get involved in RP here as I’m not a “gamer”. I have places I can write collaborative RP at, and this isn’t, or doubtfully will be, it. Have a nice day.
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:08 AM   #198
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Quote:
Change whatever you want here, or don’t change anything at all. It won’t affect me one way or another.
Very well. I trust you won't be offering any more "suggestions" here then.

As for everyone else, let's get back to working in a constructive fashion. We have a forum to rebuild. I would like to have my last set of questions answered. Do we set a limit on numbers of games running, at least until we understand how many gamers we have or do we trust the members to hash things out and if so how will this happen? One thing I would like to see is a requirement that a member participate in at least a game or two here before he or she can open a game on their own. And do we want Mod approval before starting a game or not? If a proposal is being discussed openly in a forum, realistically, how much extra work is it for someone to send PIO or whoever a PM and say "Take a look at this..."

Almost all the people posting on this thread are long time and committed Downers. I think change is needed and and am very willing to take some chances and experiment. If something doesn't work, we can change things again. But we need a framework. I am trying really hard to not impose a framework from "above". So I really want help from you all.
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:43 AM   #199
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Quote:
Do we set a limit on numbers of games running, at least until we understand how many gamers we have or do we trust the members to hash things out and if so how will this happen?
If we have a thread to discuss new ideas, I think that "when will I have time for this?" will come up reasonably often. Meaning, people can bring up some really great ideas there, but if the writers who are currently involved don't have the time to commit, they can 1). suggest some names to PM, and 2). if that fails, wait till another RP either finishes or perishes and then start up the new one. I don't like the prospect of writers stretching themselves too thin, and thus dragging multiple games down (whereas if they had committed to a smaller number they could have done more), but-- I think that each writer will better be able to police that on her own. If overstretching ends up being a problem, I think we'll be able to tell that after the fact, and reduce the number of games that can run at one time accordingly. But currently, I don't think there's any good way to know.

If we decide to do a public discussion of game thread opportunities, the main thing to do is to make sure that we're all supportive and welcoming of new ideas and new players. The mod would have to be willing to step in and get her hands dirty if we aren't. I don't see a problem with the discussion thread per se, but I do understand the arguments of Mith that a discussion thread could be more intimidating and have a greater risk of abuse and bullying. That's another cultural thing, though.

Quote:
One thing I would like to see is a requirement that a member participate in at least a game or two here before he or she can open a game on their own.
I don't have a problem with this as long as there are games being offered that encourage new participation. I also think that keeping up at least one inn with nice, low-stress (I'm with Durelin on scrapping the character sheet requirements for the inns) interactions is good, and if there isn't anyone new stopping in, current players in other games should keep the hearth burning--and inviting new people in!

Quote:
And do we want Mod approval before starting a game or not? If a proposal is being discussed openly in a forum, realistically, how much extra work is it for someone to send PIO or whoever a PM and say "Take a look at this..."
I see your point. I don't care much one way or the other--I'm definitely leaning towards some kind of pre-game-seeding discussion, whether open or closed, or both, but it should be as informal as possible. But I understand the arguments in either direction, including those who would rather just let games be posted and then taken down if they don't garner followers or if they demonstrably break a rule (say, an RP that is not Tolkien related in the least). And I don't think my reasons for leaning towards vetting are entirely rational.
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Old 02-10-2011, 04:02 AM   #200
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I don't want to be perpetually negative - really I don't, but if you scrap character bios completely you make it very hard for new people to get started since not only do they have to pick up what is going on if anything (it took me hours upon hours to get a definitive "Story so far" for the cooks disappearance in the Golden Perch when I was trying to pick up that thread. If you don't give people an easy handle on at least what people look like you make if very hard for both new people to get started and indeed existing people to welcome them.

A full life history might be unnecessary, but I do think at least a bit of a description of what a character looks like would make it easier.

In an ideal world good sense and good manners would be enough but they can be commodities in short supply and sometimes rule have been imposed for good reasons and do infact make life simpler rather than the reverse, ie requiring all ciitzens to drive on the left (or the right if you really must ) is hardly state oppression and a restriction of individuality.
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