Ben Can Convince You to Do Anything

April 22, 2006

ME: what i’ve been trying to say is not that “Forge games are inaccessible to women” but that Forge games are inaccessible to a largely untapped audience that would really enjoy a specific type of roleplaying experience.
BEN: Ah!
Yes. Okay.
That’s a completely reasonable thing to say.
Ron says it a lot, too, actually.
ME: that’s what i think.
BEN: See, I’m interested in tapping the large audience of women and minorities who are interested in gaming as it is right now but have problems with the social arrangements surrounding it or simply the white-washedness of the hobby.
ME: yes.
BEN: So yes, cool, go you.
Hey, can I make a proposal to you?
ME: yes.
BEN: I’d really like there to exist a place where you, Jess, John Sneed, Jere, and other folks could feel at home.
Like anyway is for me.
“our turf.”
I don’t think that exists right now.
And so I want you to start a bulletin board for this purpose.
ME: no.
okay, well, i was going to have to start an online forum for Push anyway.
that could be it.
BEN: That seems totally reasonable.
And I really want to help you promote it.
ME: thanks, i would appreciate it.
BEN: Because I don’t think that there can exist a functional neutral ground until everyone has a place where they feel comfortable.
ME: see, this is why i wanted to talk about this, because people seemed to get the sense that I was shitting on their lawn.
BEN: Because neutral ground is inherently uncomfortable for everyone.
ME: yes.
which is why Story Games doesn’t quite work.
it’s still too broad.
BEN: And so Pease is like “I’m uncomfortable.” And I’m like “yeah! It’s Story Games! So am I!”
ME: ha!
BEN: But I can go post on Anyway or the Forge or my blog. And Jess really doesn’t have a place to go other than Livejournal, which is non-ideal for other reasons.
But I can’t really start a place and be like “you people who don’t like me! Come here!” That’d be awkward.
ME: right.
well, i’ll talk to some of the people i’d want on-board such a project and see what they think.
BEN: I would take it as a personal favor, at least 🙂
ME: but it may be one of those “if you build it, they will come” kinds of things.
BEN: Oops.
It always is that way.
But I think there’s a hunger for it.
ME: indeed.
especially after recent conversations.
BEN: Yes.
I want it 🙂
I want to lurk.
ME: i was just telling Rich “35 people, invite only, one open forum for people to discuss the discussions, but that would get pulped every 3 months or so.”
BEN: Hrm.
You know, I thought that people were really into the inclusiveness angle.
But you never know.
ME: inclusiveness is hard.
if you let everybody in, the people you want won’t feel comfortable there.
that’s why the Forge and Story Games doesn’t work.
BEN: Hrm.
See, I think the Forge works just fine.
ME: there would be an application process which would be like, “link me to another online discussion where you talk about related issues”
BEN: Because if you let the people who are unwelcome know that they are, in fact, unwelcome, they usually leave.
One notable exception.
ME: yeah, but i don’t want to have to become Ron.
BEN: But also you miss out on great folks like Kleenestar.
ME: kicking people out does not set the right tone for inclusivity.
BEN: Who just drop in and are awesome.
No one has ever been kicked out of the Forge. A lot of people have been told “we don’t discuss that topic here.”
ME: right, but i’d also be lurking on various online places to find people to invite.
BEN: Hrm.
ME: and members could recommend their friends, like Gmail.
BEN: Well, it sounds interesting, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for. I will hit up Jess.
ME: i’m just thinking that everyone has to be there for a reason.
what do you want, Ben?
an open forum where people discuss inclusivity?
BEN: 🙂
ME: if you want it done YOUR WAY, you’re the only one who can do that.
BEN: I want a place where Pease feels comfortable.
ME: like, I can’t make Andy K make Story Games what I want it to be.
BEN: And her crew.
ME: how is that not what I’m describing?
BEN: And it seems that her big issue is inclusivity in discussions.
Of course, I could be wrong.
ME: i think you’re wrong.
she was really rattled by having everyone talking about her afterwards.
BEN: But, also, I think that there are more than 35 folks out there who want that.
I want a place where they can all go and do their thing.
ME: she wants inclusive discussions, but she doesn’t want to deal with a ton of people who aren’t on the same page.
well, 35 would be like, a starting limit.
it could go up.
i just don’t want to become another Story Games or The Forge, where you don’t know people.
BEN: See, but if what you’re actually talking about *works*, you’re going to want 10,000 people talking.
ME: i couldn’t read 10,000 people talking.
it also has to be semi-managable.
i guess i don’t want a forum so much as a think-tank, but that’s how my social circles usually run.
i have small groups of close friends instead of a ton of sorta-friends.
BEN: It just seems to me to be self-defeating. It’s like the by default assumption is that not a lot of folks are going to want to participate.
Which seems to be opposite the rest of what you’re talking about.
ME: i guess i feel it’s hard for 10,000 people to be productive.
well, we could do both.
BEN: I don’t think it’s going to be 10,000 people overnight.
ME: have an open forum and then a think-tank forum.
BEN: But the premise is that there’s this great group that’s disenfranchised from the current discussions. And I don’t see how franchising a couple of dozen helps a lot.
ME: true.
BEN: Now, you may not be the guy to do this.
In which case I will go to other people.
ME: maybe if i start coming up with forum titles, like “Inclusivity” “Designing for New Audiences” etc.
it may be that i’m not the guy to do what you want, but that doesn’t mean i can’t help out the cause in a different way.
BEN: Sure…
ME: well, i’ll start a Story Games discussion about it and see what comes up.
BEN: Heh.
Good luck.

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