Opening Up the Conversation

April 8, 2006

Over at Story Games, I said:

    The way people converse on Story Games is somewhat different from the way people converse on the Forge, but not all that different. And we already know that the way people communicate on the Forge was off-putting enough to people like Mo and Jess to the point that they didn’t feel comfortable posting there (judging from what they’ve posted in their personal blogs) and didn’t feel like a part of that community. My personal tastes and online practices have changed to the point where I don’t feel like or becessarily want to be an active member of the Forge anymore, and I worry that Story Games may already be beginning to exhibit the same tendencies that made me increasingly dissatisfied with conversations on the Forge.

    I don’t know whether it’s inevitable that a forum frequented mostly by roleplaying dorks like ourselves will necessarily become a cockfest of slapping each other on our metaphorical asses, but there’s definitely that danger. Then again, maybe that’s what Story Games, overall, wants to be. I mean, I think there definitely should be a place for people to have conversations about roleplaying that don’t have that tendency (and, for a while I think, 20×20 was such a place), but there’s a good possibility that Story Games just isn’t that place. Andy’s right that Story Games is basically just a year-round version of the Forge Birthday Forum, which means it’s mostly like the Forge, but it has more room for joking and messing around.

    However, despite what people say, humor and joking are one of the least universal things on the planet. People let down their guard for humor and that can explose some ugly things underneath (which may or may not be how they really feel and think). And a bunch of dorky gamer guys joking around (I’m including myself in all these charaterizations) is not always gonna be pretty or accessible or inclusive or especially enlightened and fair. But I don’t think “more serious” is the solution. The Forge is “more serious” than Story Games and it can be even less accessible.

    The only real suggestion I have is this: write for the audience you want to have. If you are expecting that only fellow dorky gamer guys are going to be reading what you write, your writing voice will show that and other kinds of people (who would give you a more diverse audience with other valuable opinions) will be turned off or not feel like they can really have conversations with you. And that’s less cool, in my opinion.

And over at Sin Aesthetics, Mo said some related cool stuff.

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